Internet Bullying

Monday, March 28, 2011
There's some serious internet bullying going on here. Please, please, please stop it. I know Jacqueline Howett made a mistake. A big one. But she's outnumbered hundreds to one, and many of the comments are nastier than she ever was.

I'm not defending her. But I'm not defending any of the other nastiness either. If you have a mean comment, I'd encourage you to go delete it.

We're better than this. We're writers. We're readers. We're human beings. We have more in common than we have differences. Focus on those commonalities. Have you ever made a huge mistake? Ever done something you were ashamed of that had EVERYONE talking about you? Do you remember how awful that felt?

If so, think of how she must feel. Don't perpetuate this travesty. Do what you can to make it better. Not by going after the nasty commenters but by stopping the gossip. And then hope that the next time you make a huge mistake, people will be as forgiving of you as you were of Ms. Howett. 


*edit: I'm not saying you can't discuss the situation publically. What I am saying is that you do so professionally and with the understanding that this is a person we're talking about. There's definitely a mob feel to some of the conversations going around. A "let's get her" mentality. That is SO WRONG.


  1. Anonymous said...:

    Well said, Amber.

  1. Cas Peace said...:

    Brilliant response, Amber, I totally agree.

  1. I never make miskates. Really.

    As an expert mistake maker, I totally agree. We all screw up. That's how we learn.

  1. I totally agree. I think she took it way too far, and now everyone else is taking it way too far. I've seen several nasty reviews on Amazon on her book and I'm sure the people that posted them haven't even read it.:( That is awesome that we are both almost to 200 followers! Go us! :D

  1. My take on this is that either English is not Howlett's first language or she has a learning disability of some kind. My son, who has issues of that sorts, sometimes comes out with awkward sentences like hers and it's a real struggle for him in chatrooms and online when he has to type live. (Of course, he's also 12years old.) So I do have some sympathy for her, although it doesn't excuse her initial behavior.
    Hopefully it will all die down in a few days.

  1. Unknown said...:

    Nicely said, Amber.

  1. Thanks LT, Cas, Nisa, and Melanie.

    Charlie: I think all writers post something online that they wish they wouldn't have. She's just an extreme example.

    Chantele: My thoughts exactly. Her initial nastiness doesn't excuse theres.

    Laura: You're not the only one to think so. It makes sense that something else is going on.

  1. Ing said...:

    I don't think what's going on here is actually internet bullying. Jacqueline Howett tried to bully the reviewer on his own blog, and she was getting exactly what her behavior deserved from the readers of that blog. Until the Twitterstorm hit.

    What's going on now is a little more like a digital lynching -- disturbing no matter who it happens to. The mob doesn't care who it's tearing apart because it doesn't see a person at all. That's the scary part.

  1. Ing: I didn't mean that the reviewer was bullying her. I thought his review actually sounded rather generous. What I'm refering to are the people who have been so cruel in SOME of the comments. And then the people who have actively tried to bash her via twitter/FB. And those who are giving her bad reviews based on her behavior, not on their opinion of the book.

  1. Ing said...:

    Still not sure I'd call any of that bullying -- but whatever we call it, it's ugly, sure enough.

  1. Diana said...:

    this is so sad. I didnt even know this was going on. thanks for posting, Ms. Amber. & I agree w/you completely! this needs to stop!


  1. Michele said...:

    I hope lots of people read your post...this situation is disturbing

  1. I completely agree with you, Amber. I had a my similar take on the situation, as a psychologist: The new cyber bullies: The case of Jacqueline Howett.

  1. Diana: It's just sooo mean.

    Michele: I hope so too.

    Alicia: I'll go read your article. :) Thanks for commenting.

  1. I wasn't aware of this until seeing your post - wow. She did make a mistake ... several of them ... but there's no reason for a public tribunal.

  1. It was an internet mob.

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