I’m normally opposed to sharing my dirty laundry online. Like, really opposed to it. But let’s think of this as a public service announcement, and if you see me losing it on Twitter, you can understand why. I want to share this little story with you as it could absolutely happen to anyone:
Internet harassment/stalking on my favourite spot for social media…Twitter.
It’s the stuff that is wound into the movie plots of psycho-dramas. If I told you the details here you just wouldn’t believe me because they are THAT nuts.
Ugh. It’s weird.
The person who is doing the stalking is a stranger to me. Typically you think of stalkers as people that you know. Maybe a scorned ex lover, or an ex-acquaintance that wants revenge. (I’d like to think I’ve never ticked somebody off that bad, but you never know). This is a different type of stalker. A female. A stranger. A nut case.
It happened just one day out of the blue. I came home from being out of town and not being online, and there were a series bizarre Twitter messages. And it just snowballed from there. I came to find out this person is a known stalker, and has stalked other unfortunate people for years. I had a few strangers contact me through Twitter to let me know who this person is and what her deal was. (After being stalked by this woman, they try and warn others…thanks peeps! you rock.) What evolved was a handful of friendly new Twitter acquaintances and one nasty Twitter enemy.
I am going to spare you the juicy details on what she actually says in her Tweets to me and about me. Let’s just say her topics of discussion are awful. Her accusations are horrific and completely bizarre. I won’t publish this woman’s name at this time but I may in the future. There are websites about her and tons of information online. Clearly, she’s pissed enough people off that people are trying to get her stopped by any means possible.
The scary part? She lives very close to me. Close enough though that my local police are on to her…in fact they’ve paid her a visit. Gave her a good warning. However, she has not yet been charged. They told me she should settle down, that she obviously has some mental health issues and they will investigate again if anything happens.This isn’t the first time the police have talked to her either. She has a long list of reports under her name. Unfortunately, there is a big grey area when it comes to this stuff, although the police are very willing to help out and learn.
It stopped for a bit.
Then it started again.
I’ve blocked her, reported her to Twitter, locked my account, asked her politely to stop, asked her LOUDLY to stop, got raging angry and then changed my Twitter name in hopes that she wouldn’t figure it out. A day later she’s popped up again (following my new name) with a new account herself (oddly enough, impersonating a police officer), and rambling on about the same things. Same accusations, same bullshit. I think she really feels joy from being a public liability.
I really took a hard look at what I posted online after this happened. Was it me? Do I give out too much information? Do I share too many details about my life? I love connecting with people on Twitter and other social media sites, and feel I should be as authentic as I want to be. But this was not for admiration.This was for pure evil and nasty intentions, and whether she has all of her marbles or not, not civil behaviour…
I am still in consistent communication with the police in regards to this. I’m hoping someone will pull up their socks and get this woman the mental health treatment she needs. In the meantime, I’m just ignoring…hoping she goes away. Ignoring is sometimes hard, especially when she has made every effort under the sun to get under your skin.
So the moral of the story is, you just can’t take your online safety for granted. Even if you are the squeakiest of squeaky clean and have never had a quarrel in your life (ok, who are we kidding). BUT there ARE people out there that live in an evil, negative, gong-show mind-set. If you practice “safe netting” as a regular thing anyway, you should be ok from a personal safety perspective if you happen to be the unlucky recipient of their weird obsessions and accusations.
As of this morning, she has moved her accusations about strangers in her life over to a blog. More room to ramble I suppose! Also more evidence for us. I’ll keep you posted.