How many times do you want to do, say or write something important, but hesitate because those inside voices always stop you: Not now, this is not the time, you might hurt someone’s feelings, someone might sue you if they get offended…
You wanted to write about online bullying and digital sexual harassment since the day you have discovered social media and brutal world of online publicity. God only knows how many times you have stopped yourself from writing about a HUGE elephant in the room—that being the online code of sexual conduct or rather the NONEXISTENCE of such a code—for the same exact reasons: What if you offend someone, what if it doesn’t matter, what if you were not strong enough to stand by your beliefs? This blog would probably never have been written if you didn’t come across an article (from a very reputable publication) called “Don’t Hate Me because I’m beautiful.”
The article is about research conducted by two Israelis analysts, on who gets advantages during a recruitment process and why. “Bradley Ruffle at Ben-Gurion University and Ze’ev Shtudiner at Ariel University Centre looked at what happens when job hunters include photos with their curricula vitae, as is the norm in much of Europe and Asia.” Their “shocking” results:
Attractive female candidates have lesser chances to be hired than their not-so attractive sisters.
They might be shocking to many readers, but not to you. You saw this article as a sign from above, a chance to finally write about your own story—of an intelligent, attractive professional trying to succeed in life using her brains (you know that you are smarter than a fifth grader) and her ability to learn quickly, manage difficult tasks, be strong when others need a shoulder to lean on, and be brave enough to step up when others are afraid to move.
This is your own story of the digital sexual and emotional harassment that you will be dealing with for many years, simply because of the fact that you are an attractive woman who dared to become a professional in a social arena. Who would have thought you would have to become a Gladiator…
LinkedIn was originally designed as a social platform for strictly professional use, job hunting, sales and marketing promotions and opportunities, co-worker and former colleague connections, and recently, for writing and blogging opportunities. But like many social media sites it has gradually transformed into a “free-for-all” with “Gangs of New York”-type communication. Anyone can say or write whatever (they feel) is appropriate.
The most depressing thing is that you would get more offensive emails and indecent, often creepy proposals on LinkedIn than on any other social media platform!!! Tinder is a little tiny “sandbox” compared to this giant ocean of hookups and date proposals.
Here are some groups of people who harassed you.
“Online-only trolls”—offensive but not malicious.
Troll #1: “Oh, are you single? Would love to have you.”
Your mind says back, “I’d love to smack you, you little $h-t!”
Please don’t respond to these.
Troll #2: “Do you use Cyber Dust?”
You: “No, What’s Cyber Dust?”
Troll #2: “Oh.. it is a discreet chat application with no traces left.”
Well, you installed Cyber Dust, and your recent contact immediately started sending you his naked pictures. Your stomach could not bear this torture, and you quickly deleted Cyber Dust along with the guy (who, I suspect, never saw a mirror in his life).
Troll # 3: “You are so beautiful.”
You: “Yeah.. I get that a lot.” (Luckily, your dear friend taught you this sarcastic expression.)
Troll #3: “When are we going for dinner?”
You: “Never sounds good.”
Just don’t respond to those either.
“Cross-platforms trolls” —people you meet on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and then connect with on LinkedIn. Those can be slightly dangerous, judging by their comments.
Once you have posted that you were bringing your team to one of the trade shows. Here is a comment you have received from one Facebook/LinkedIn “buddy”:
“Oh you went from being single to having a boyfriend, now you are having a team, what’s next- an army?”
To this day I am trying to decrypt this sentence, looking for a small drop of common sense and failing every time. Do me a favor, block this “Winston Churchill” from all of your sites to eliminate his ingenious comments.
Stalkers—very dangerous, they can show up at your door!
One time you made the mistake of including your cell phone number on your LinkedIn profile (what were you thinking, girl?) You started getting bombarded by random texts at wee hours, messages on Twitter, and emails to your personal email account from a guy who probably would have camped outside of your house if he didn’t live abroad. Thank God for Atlantic Ocean!
Remember, there is no such thing as privacy on social media. You will learn that the hard way. For some unexplainable reason, people think that they can violate your privacy just because you are active on social media.
But this recent email put your entire troll email collection to shame. Here it is:
“Like that Steve Jobs post is one of my favorites! (he meant one of your posts) So..only a social media diva with a shamelessly courageous personality would appreciate how it came about that I’m messaging you.
Your pic caught my attention and profile did make me crack a smile. I’m sure you’ve left a trail of broken hearts and spirits around the globe, but no matter. We have much to discuss. If you care to. I’ve traveled the globe giving lectures about Internet search and touch on social media as part of that. And I’ve never thought of it, but yes, help demystify it all for many.Let me know when you’re planning to take me out . . . and where. Lol. Have a great day.
ps: several of your pics look like you’re wearing a wedding ring. If so, please disregard this message (well, except for the part about having a nice day)”
Yes, LinkedIn has blocking features, and thank God for those, as they stop some people from writing nonsense. Unfortunately, other people don’t take online rejections well—in their minds, attractiveness is a valid reason for harassment. They see an attractive person as an object who almost “deserves” to be abused.
You are certainly not one who can be easily run over. I know, you fight till the end.
Your beauty (inner and outer) is a priceless gift from God, be grateful for it.
Your heart is just as beautiful as your face, and it belongs to only one man—not the whole LinkedIn nation.
Your beauty is your blessing, and NO ONE can tell you it is your curse or your fault.
So don’t be afraid to tell them : “Go ahead, hate me…because I am, indeed, beautiful.”