Before you overshare – take note…


I bloody LOVE Robbie Williams!

But as much as I love Robbie, the live vlogging/tweeting of his son’s birth is – for me – a chronic case of oversharing.  And he’s not alone. We’ve ALL posted something to Twitter and Facebook that’s been a case of too much information or not of interest to anyone but our very own nearest and dearest. However, these days on social media, oversharing is rife and there really are somethings that need to remain private – especially when it comes to giving birth – the only people who need to see that are the people in the room with you.

So, before posting something on social media – especially if you’re prone to the odd occasion of oversharing, ask yourself these five questions…

1. Does your post contain anything about the parts of your body that when in public should be covered by clothes? If yes then it’s very unlikely that anyone on your friends and followers lists needs to know about it.
Continue reading “Before you overshare – take note…”

The week the internet turns 25…

This cartoon from The New Yorker appeared a few weeks back on A Cup Of Jo and since the Internet turned 25 this week I thought that it would be apt to share it. Plus, I love it, it’s most definitely autobiographical, I’m always looking on IMDB to find out what actors have been in before – it’s a compulsion.


But seriously, I can’t believe that the internet is just 25 years old, it’s impossible to remember a time without it (although, I obviously DID live for quite sometime without it). Funnily enough, it was only last week that I was having a discussion about when we first got broadband installed and we were shocked at how it actually wasn’t that long ago. Gah, can you remember dial up and how slow the connection used to be? (but how amazed we were at the same time?), that awful noise that the modem used to make and how if you were on the net you couldn’t make phone calls? OH and lets not forget the countless AOL CD’s that were posted through the door.

I really wonder what I’d be doing now if it weren’t for the internet, especially as a lot of my work takes place online. And blogs – I couldn’t imagine not having access to the wonderful foodie, business, fashion and lifestyle blogs out there. Lets not get started on social media!

But despite the bad parts of the net (trolling etc) it’s still a wonderful place!

So tell me, what are your favourite memories of the internet?

ps: I couldn’t leave this post without sharing this website: Cat Bounce < you’re welcome!

How To: Deal With Online Trolls

“Beyoncé isn’t Beyoncé because she reads comments on the Internet. Beyoncé is in Ibiza, wearing a stomach necklace, walking hand in hand with her hot boyfriend. She’s going on the yacht & having a mimosa. She’s not reading shitty comments about herself on the Internet, & we shouldn’t either. I just think, Would Beyoncé be reading this? No, she would just delete it or somebody would delete it for her. What I really need to do is close the computer & then talk back to that voice & say, Fuck you. I don’t give a shit what you think. I’m Beyoncé. I’m going to Ibiza with Jay-Z now, fuck off. Being criticized is part of the job, but seeking it out isn’t. That’s our piece to let go.” (Kathleen Hanna)

Tim Ferris posted this Steve Jobs quote on facebook recently and it got me thinking about online trolls…especially in light of the Stan Collymore fiasco.

“By the way, what have you done that’s so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize other’s work and belittle their motivations?”- Steve Jobs

image via pinterest

If you’ve ever been on the end of abusive internet comments – then you know it’s not nice. I’ve been called “pointless” for writing a simple piece on first dates, right through to being called a “fucking bitch” on twitter because I shared my opinion on a news story (and let’s not forget the famous “baphead” for daring to go on the radio). It seems trolls don’t just go after celebrities, they’ll go after anyone so long as they get their cheap kicks.

So what is a troll? If you’re thinking those weird little toys {pictured above} you used to play with back in the 80/90s then think again. These are bigger, nastier and uglier.”A troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: “That was an excellent troll you posted.” – Wikipedia

Put basically, they’re a collective of people who think that a cheap laptop and a broadband connection gives them the right to be abusive to others. They forget {or more to the point – don’t care} that the person reading the bile they’ve spewed is a human being.  They’re nothing short of playground bullies who have no boundaries because they’re hiding behind their computer screens and often see no consequences.But that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. Here are a few things you can do…

Ignore them. The most simple of advice and often a lot easier said than done. It’s taken me ages to just ignore these people and not react. I’ve come to the conclusion that if they don’t like what I’ve posted then more fool them for wasting five minutes of their life leaving a comment. Like any bully they thrive on attention. Don’t give it to them and they can’t do a thing.The Internet is written in ink…

It’s so hard not to retaliate and throw some pretty severe four letter words back out there at these monsters but STOP and think before you press that send button. To steal a line from the film The Social Network – the internet is written in ink. EVERYTHING is searchable, once you’ve clicked send, things remain out there and you’ve very little control over it once it’s out. Don’t ruin your future chances by responding in a negative and unprofessional way. You may not think it matters now but you don’t want people to google your name and see a string of inappropriate messages {and by then out of context} pop up.

On Twitter? Use your block button. If someone has upset you on twitter then just click the block button. It’s what it’s there for. Certainly don’t RT the comment, by retweeting you’re just giving the troll the satisfaction of seeing it bothered you.

On your blog? Would you let someone come in to your home and abuse you? No? Well, if someone posts something vile on your blog {YOUR virtual home} then just delete the comment. If you use wordpress then you can block these critters from ever commenting again. Don’t let it put you off blogging either – like I said earlier, if they don’t like your blog then they can quit reading it.

Don’t assume everyone is a troll…It’s a weird term really – troll. What I may consider a troll someone else may just think is an old fashioned arsehole. If you’ve been on twitter and facebook for any length of time you can usually see the difference between asshat and a troll so judge with caution.

Don’t let it get you down. Again, easier said than done. I remember when I had my first email of hate, I’d just had an article published and the reader clearly didn’t agree with my opinions – which is totally cool but they chose to verbally express themselves in a way which was less than kind. They’d gone to a whole heap of effort to trace my email address and craft a mammoth hate session so that it arrived in my inbox to read the very next morning. Did it bother me? HELL YES. I was so upset by it that I thought I’d made a huge mistake and should just skulk back off to my PR job.  You get used to a certain level of rejection when you’re freelancing but when someone deliberately sets out be vile it’s pretty upsetting. But the more time you waste on them and let them bring you down the less time you have to achieve things and get stuff done

.If it gets too much or you feel threatened then there are things you can do…

Check out Darlingtons blog post on trolls. He mentions the actions that can be taken if you’re feeling harrassed or threatened such as criminal and civil proceedings.

AND FINALLY…I have to share this piece that I read on Gala Darling’s blog. Whilst not specifically about trolling it does make you think that what people say about you really shouldn’t stop you from going out there and doing what you want.

*originally posted August 2012  

How To Blog: Dealing with Negative Comments

I’ve had a bit of a sabbatical from my “how to blog” series. With holiday, work and a little more work on the top, I’ve simply had no time. I’ve also not had time to tell you about the talk I did for ignite.

Which is handy as I’m going to pinch that idea for todays post.

A few weeks back I spoke to a room of people about dealing with negative online comments, we were all in the same boat, everyone in that room either blogged, tweeted, uploaded photos, facebooked, generally created something online etc so its safe to assume that most people had come across a negative comment or two in their time online.

If you were at the talk, you’ll know I got side tracked…if you weren’t then I had to hone my usual rabbeting down to a 5 minute segment so briefly here are my tips on dealing with negative online comments.

*note for the purpose of the blog post, when I talk about negative comments, I’m not talking about the type of comments that include death/rape threats or fascist and violent behaviour – those need to be reported to police asap.

Instead I’m talking about those pesky commenters who lie in the shadows, waiting for you to post something before leaping out and essentially shitting all over your work.

One story I shared with the room at ignite was a time when I was a guest on BBC Radio Wales. I was talking about something serious at the time I’m sure *ahem* so the last thing I expected was to receive was a tweet calling me a “bap head” – seriously!! BAP. HEAD. This person had gone out of his way to set up a twitter account with the sole purpose of tweeting the presenter of the show (and kindly @‘ing me) just to call me a name. It was the ONLY TWEET on their account!

I’ll be honest, I laughed it off since I’ve always thought I’ve got a bit of a moon face anyway.Since I’ve been blogging since 2006 I’ve come to expect that there will always be someone sat in wait ready to kindly share their shitty, irrelevant opinion of you. But it’s not always that easy, especially if you’re lacking confidence, are new at blogging or you’ve posted something personal and heartfelt.

So here are my 5 tips on dealing with negative comments online…

Put it in perspective:
Think about the type of people who are leaving these comments. Whilst you’re there trying to create a successful blog and sharing your wise words with the world, they’re using their internet connection to scour the net for things they can be mean about. It’s dull, its childish and the majority of these comments come from grown ups so I found it a lot easier to start picturing what these people are like in real life. If you start picturing these people as sad, middle-aged virgins, living in their parents back bedroom, with very little going for them (probably true) then suddenly it doesn’t seem to matter so much.


Turn off comments:
A little bit drastic but bloggers like Seth Godin, Gala Darling and Danielle LaPorte all made the decision to switch off the noise and turn comments off. As Gala Darling said on her post “Comments are a blessing and a curse”. Personally, I’m a comment whore, I love a good comment so I couldn’t switch them off but if you find that comments are dampening your creative genius then flick that switch.


Turn the hate around:
It is generally the case that those who leave you negative comments basically want you to “shut the fuck up and die” { < that is actually a direct quote from one of my fans} but instead of doing that, take what they say and use it as inspiration for your next post. For example, going back to #bapheadgate, I could use that as a perfect excuse to chat about my favourite bap filling {fish fingers with plenty of salt and vinegar btw}. Not only will you have pissed your hater off by not shrivelling away but you’ll also have gotten a blog post out of it. Result.


Your mother wasn’t wrong when she told you to just ignore the bullies and they would go away. Luckily social media has a great invention called the block button. If you don’t want that kind of hate in your space block the offender or if it’s a comment on your blog, delete it and block the commenter. You can find out how to do that here. Although, just a word to the wise, don’t just delete comments because you don’t agree. There’s a difference between a healthy debate and people disagreeing with your views to sending you hate comments so don’t be too sensitive when dealing with the dreaded block button.


Be mindful about what YOU are putting out there:
Its all very well saying that you don’t want to receive negative comments but if you’re putting bad stuff out there (ie “isn’t that celebrity fat, doesn’t that girl on factor sound hideous etc) then you’re going to get it back. If we want to make the internet a kinder place then everyone has to start doing it, the odd celebrity slagging off session makes you a slight hypocrite. So be nice. Make your social media and your blog a nice place. Have an opinion yes but don’t be cruel.


Now tell me your tips…