Internet Trolls & Safety: Why I’m Posting Less Often


Three things have happened in the last few months that have combined to discourage me from posting as often on this blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter. First, I’m swamped with projects for clients, and my 12-year-old budding actor has been swamped with school and acting work.

Second, I have had a lot of phone calls, emails, comments, and messages on all kinds of sites from “happy customers” of a company called Casting Hub or CastHub.tv that has been mentioned several times on this blog. I feel fairly sure that most of the phone calls (all to my listed business line) are prompted by the company, which would love to get me to say something that could lead to a costly lawsuit, but there have also been a ton of calls from people asking for help that I just don’t feel competent to offer.

And some of the people who initially called to ask for help became verbally abusive when I couldn’t give them what they wanted, or help them solve the problem they got themselves into. Worse, at least one of them has turned into a sort of Internet stalker, posting derogatory comments on articles I write on other sites, my Facebook and Pinterest accounts, and on Twitter. All because SHE signed a contract for something she regrets, hoped to find someone to rescue her from her own mistake, and was angry when I refused to get involved in her problem. (I might have been more willing to jump through hoops to help her had she not called for the first time at 6 a.m. on a day when I’d been on a film set until 12:30 p.m. the night before.)

The New Internet Troll’s Antics

I’ve been online since the early 1980’s, first on CompuServe, and then on the Internet since the days when Netscape was the hottest company around and my 56K modem was blazingly fast. So I’ve run into Internet trolls of many kinds.

I try hard to avoid them when I can because I have neither the inclination or the time for flame wars, arguments, and the endless cycle of who said what to whom that trolls seem to thrive on. Recently, however, an acquaintance I can’t avoid because they are related to another family member has become a major pain in my existence.

It isn’t that I believe there is any kind of privacy available to those of us who use the Internet — or even that I want people to ignore what I post or write. If I post something that you don’t like on this blog, feel free to reply as a comment to the blog — or send me email using the contact information on my “About” page.  Ditto for Facebook or Twitter.  But there are boundaries.

Don’t show up at my house after using a public records directory to find my address. Don’t call me at midnight or 6 a.m. And don’t assume that because you “like” me on Facebook or subscribe to my blog that we are close personal friends. That’s what this troll has done: mistaken common courtesy for friendship. I am not the troll’s friend. I do not like the troll. I would prefer that the troll moves to the far side of the world, and lives happily ever after far, far from me.

To protect the guilty, I am going to refer to this person only as the troll. Here’s what this particular troll has done to annoy me lately:

  1. Friended most of the people on my Facebook Friends list who were willing to add the troll to their Friends list after I ignored the troll’s Friend Request.  Then proceded to post either ridiculously over-the-top flattering comments or snarky comments on anything I posted or commented on that was visible on my friend’s Facebook pages.
  2. Encouraged a junkie the troll met in a rehab facility who claimed to be a “big-time” TV producer to contact my 12-year-old directly about auditioning for a show that is neither appropriate for any 12-year-old or currently in production. Did I mention that the “host” of said TV show is on the registered sex-offender list?
  3. Posted a photo of my car, taken in my driveway with my license plate visible, on the troll’s public Facebook page with the troll chatting on a cell phone in my driveway. According to the time/date stamp on the photo, the troll was NOT a guest in my home on the date the photo was taken. In fact, I was six counties away when the photo was taken, and the troll had absolutely no business being at my house when no one was there — our “relationship” does not include casual drop-in visits.
  4. Started posting comments on my 12-year-old’s blog and Twitter account that imply that the troll is close to the child and actively involved in his life.

Do I feel threatened by this particular troll? Not really. I outweigh the troll by at least 100 pounds. The troll has a felony record while I’ve never even been late paying a library fine or traffic ticket.  I feel certain that if it came down to it, a call to the police would have the troll removed from my property if they are stupid enough to show up uninvited again after being warned.

What I do feel is annoyed, and reluctant to post much new personal information. I’ve always avoided “checking in” and providing real-time details about where I am. But now I’m even reluctant to post details about where I plan to be in the future or where I was in the past.

Safety is job #1 when you are responsible for a child, so I apologize for the less frequent updates and les spersonal information.

However, I will post this one personal item. If you see this dog out in the neighborhood without beind on a leash, please bring her home or call me, and I will come and get her. The phone number is on one of the tags on her collar.

She has become an escape artist who digs under our fence. Her name is Suchi, and she has a collar, and tags that include her name and my phone number. She’s a 2-year-old female, black and white Tibetan Terrier, and she weighs about 18-20 pounds. Her distinguishing features are a black mask around her eyes, black years, and a mostly white body with a few black spots on her spine. She’s currently at home — after a nice neighbor returned her earlier today. But she will get out again. She always seems to.

Tibetan Terrier

 

About debmcalister

I'm a Dallas-based marketing consultant and writer, who specializes in helping start-up technology companies grow. I write (books, articles, and blogs) about marketing, technology, and social media. This blog is about all of those -- and the funny ways in which they interesect with everyday life. It's also the place where I publish general articles on topics that interest me -- including commentary about the acting and film communities, since I have both a son and grandson who are performers.
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