When you are networking and conducting business through digital and social media, you are always at risk for harassment and stalking. It is not gender-specific, although taking into consideration what statistics for harassment and stalking reveal outside digital and social media, in the 3D world, girls and women are at a significantly higher risk for becoming victims of harassment and stalking.
With a highly visible business and personal profile on digital and social media, I wanted to share my experiences about online harassment and stalking. This has nothing to do with possible conflicts and/or differences with coworkers, family members, friends, relatives or ex-partners. In the ideal case, any conflicts and/or differences should ALWAYS be resolved in person. Not through digital/social media, text messages, e-mails or even on the phone. Whenever possible, conflicts and differences should be resolved in person.
Harassment and stalking, however, differ from “normal” communication in many ways. In this post, I am only referring to some of my personal experiences. It is worthwhile though to learn more about what harassment and stalking is in a broader context, and how different cultures and countries treat stalking in terms of legislation.
With more than a decade of activity on digital and social media, and after building large networks on various digital and social media platforms, I have learned a lot about harassment and stalking. Most of the time, it is “not so bad” i.e. I have learned how to ignore most comments and suggestions. However, stalking is something that goes a bit further than that.
My advice for people who are being stalked is to not let the stalker scare you. Take care of your personal security as a first priority. Do not let a stalker control your feelings and actions: after all, that is their main goal.
Being stalked signifies that you may experience significant security risks, whereby you must have secret contact information including address and telephone number. When you are being stalked, the person stalking you gets fuel from any possible small interaction with you. Therefore, it is important to understand what you have to do in a case like this. Never, ever take stalking light-heartedly. Being stalked means that you are being e.g. followed, watched, threatened, possibly even blackmailed by a stalker. Stalkers usually want to control their targets, and the main difference to any other form of harassment is that stalkers do not give up easily. Some stalkers can continue for years. In the worst case scenario, even for decades.
I must say that I have some pretty eager fans on social media. One wanted to move in with me, get married and have kids without ever even having talked to me in person or knowing me at all and vice versa. Plus a bunch of other harassers and stalkers who constantly bombard me with messages and do not get it when I say I’m busy. I mark such messages as SPAM.
One of the most recent ones retweeted me all the time on Twitter until I blocked him. Not due to his retweeting, but because he contacted me through my website and when I responded, he started pouring out personal things telling me about his therapist/therapy etc. and seemed to expect me to engage 100% of my time into his free-of-charge software + his personal/professional problems, for free! I said I have a busy schedule and have no time for this. Politely. But there is a clear limit for my politeness. Now he has sent me at least six e-mails during one day, talking about himself all the time. I have not even responded to any of these messages. I marked them as spam.
The thing about people like this is that they are:
- energy vampires
- most often hide behind a fake identity
- believe that everything is about them and their problems i.e. that the whole world spins around them
- don’t respect other people’s boundaries and privacy
- don’t seem to understand what no means or don’t want to take no for an answer
- very demanding individuals
- craving attention, constant feedback, and constant validation
- often exaggerating or even lying about their achievements etc.
AND, the list goes on!
Unbelievable how some adult people can afford to behave like children online. Do you want to know what I do with harassers and stalkers?
- I ignore
- I block
- I report to the police
So think before you act and bombard wo/men, including me, with harassing messages, on social media. And learn some normal human manners. I.e. don’t hide behind a fake identity online. It is disturbing and sick. If you cannot be authentic (online), i.e. use a fake identity including fake profile pics, you may suffer from a personality disorder. Around 15% of the population does. If you recognize yourself: seek professional help and stop stalking and harassing people. Learn what NO means. The whole world is not here to serve your fragile ego.
My advice for people who are being stalked is to not let the stalker scare you. Take care of your personal security as a first priority. Do not let a stalker control your feelings and actions: after all, that is their main goal. Make sure to learn more about how common stalking is and know that you are not the only one being stalked. Being as informed as possible allows for you to take better care of your business and personal safety. Since it is highly probable that any stalker suffers from a personality disorder, it is recommended to learn more about various personality disorders. Remember, however, that only psychiatrists are qualified to diagnose any psychiatric illnesses or personality disorders.
Thank you for reading. You can follow me on Twitter @annemariayritys – to receive my newsletter delivered personally to you, make sure to subscribe to Anne-Maria Yritys