Have you ever ‘Googled’ yourself? Go on, be honest – have you ever looked yourself up online?
never have until recently. I don’t know what I was more afraid of – finding nothing about myself or finding something awful written about me that may or may not be true.
I bit the bullet a few weeks ago out of sheer nosiness. I googled myself and by God up I popped. There was an initial hit of relief or maybe ego that I was significant enough to exist online but realistically it’s hard to find someone these days who doesn’t. Practically everybody has a digital footpath nowadays so I knew it was no great reflection of my popularity.
Off I went down an online rabbit hole (big mistake!) until I came to one of those forums where lo and behold I was being discussed. Well less discussed and more torn asunder really. One person started off describing me as a “budget Amanda Brunker or Brendan O’Connor.” That actually made me laugh because I wouldn’t mind looking like one of them and being able to write like the other!
However as the thread continued, it became evident these online warriors weren’t fans of mine. One said I was “a failed journalist” whom someone had felt sorry for and given me a job. Another said I wrote complete drivel whilst the final nail in the coffin was someone saying the only use they had for my scribblings was lining the cage of their pet guinea pig. At least I was useful.
The fact these comments were made several years ago didn’t soften the blow. They were mean and bitchy and uncalled for. Some people say if you’re in the public eye, this kind of vitriol is part of the territory but I don’t accept that.
Firstly I’m not in the public eye. I have a job. That job is to write and the brief is to write about whatever’s happening in my life or life in general. You don’t have to like it or agree with me or even think it’s any good but that doesn’t give you the right to make nasty unsolicited comments about me or anyone else in a public forum.
The part that upsets me the most is that these cowardly bullies remain anonymous because they haven’t the balls to put their name to their comments. So really they can say what they like. Anyway even if they did reveal their identities, I know enough to know engaging with them is a battle I will never win.
What I read about me was mild in comparison to what some people are subjected to but it was enough to make me stop digging. Someone with a more fragile disposition than me could be deeply affected by negative, nasty comments about themselves. It could be enough to tip them over the edge.
My point is – don’t be a dick online or off.