Grace is one of my favorite words and one of my favorite concepts of being.
Cyber Bullies and 6 Steps To Grace
And boy did I have to face up to that challenge last weekend…..
Sunday morning, slept in, feeling peaceful and woke up to a virtual Sh** storm on my twitter feed. I couldn’t figure out what was going on…..
Apparently an article I posted on my blog a few years back and reposted last week was a reference to a Washington Post expo. People were retweeting and favoriting all over the place. Initially I thought this was a good thing. Until I read the comments. Both on my blog & Twitter- The things people were saying were vitriolic. In retrospect, I’m amazed (now I know what cyber bullying is!) The picture being painted was that I was attempting to take credit for the article.
**Note here - my post was not a cut a paste of the original article
How does this relate to Grace?
As I responded, managed my anxiety, and alleviated the situation, I figured out….
Being Graceful is…..
Not Making Assumptions
By the time I woke up on Sunday there were @ 30 people flinging my name around the net calling me a plagiarist. This has a started at 7:30am and I didn’t even see it til almost noon - Yikes! Not one of them thought to DM or email me with a cease and desist or an explanation. Everyone just assumed the worst. And… if they had read the post they would have seen it was an excerpt from a chain email not the original article with my name slapped on it…..
I don’t buy the old sticks and stones adage. Words and names can still hurt! See all the horrible cases of cyber bullying suicide stories. We need to remember that the internet is still the real world. Even when you aren’t speaking something to someone in person your words and tone still matter. Don’t forget there is a human being on the other side of every comment you post
Act don't RE-act
As I filtered through the comments - I could have started flinging dirt back. Instead I thought about problem solving – not problem evolving. My thought was how can I take immediate action to put out the fire & not add more gasoline. Realizing that one of my commentators was the author of the original article. I went straight to the source and…..
Know When to Say You're Sorry
In retrospect, although it was unintentional, I did mess up. My E-zine said it was a repost, BUT my blog did not. When I copied the article I didn’t see a source in the email – so I didn’t look for one. My bad. I can imagine that an author might be very angry for someone to not credit their material. I told him all of this, apologized for the confusion and said that I was immediately correcting the problem. We ended up having a nice little exchange. Thankfully - He finally tweeted for the people online to stop bothering me! Which they still were doing even after I edited and credited him on the blog!!
Live your life by example
In this case I guess what I was going for was peace and amicable resolution. A simple tweet back to the vultures, one by one, stated that there was an editorial mishap, it had been corrected and that I had apologized to the author for any confusion. There was nothing more for the vultures to feed on. When you don’t throw punches back – people find another bag to hit ;) Like mom said, treat people how you want to be treated, be respectful and amazingly most people will follow suit. And when they don’t?
Remind yourself - Other peoples projections are not your problem
Still working on this one. So, although I know this one intellectually, I still need to remember it daily in order to make it a reality. I'm sensitive & I believe that at our core, everyone is. All we can do is our best. And everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of being human. It’s important to understand that and also know your boundaries.
You can't change people but you can lead by grace. It’s not your problem to carry if they don't catch on. :)
Well, that was a whirlwind Sunday, so glad it’s over - peacefully!
Wishing you Love, Light, and All Happy Online Communications!
PS. The article in question & chaos here was about the social experiment where famous violinist Joshua Bell busked in a Washington DC metro station.
Link to Gene Weingartens beautiful original piece here.
Link to my original (now edited!) Blog post here.