Aug 302012
 

I don’t support bullies online. I’ve had enough death threats as an online community manager to have experienced all the different emotions – fear, anger, frustration, impotence and boredom. When I heard Charlotte Dawson had stalked down a woman who had told her to go hang herself on Twitter, had rung the woman at work and her boss, and then was admitted into hospital today…  It’s hard to understand a woman who overreacted – yes overreacted – to a  nutjob stranger on Twitter saying “go hang yourself”. She also retweets abuse sent to her. But here’s the key point: Charlotte Dawson has made a career of  slagging off all and sundry and using her broadcasting power to bully others, calling critics bogans and scrags (see Point 3 below). There’s more to this story than woe is me… And while I’m sorry that Charlotte Dawson has let this drama affect her (we are responsible for when and how we are offended), I (and others like Duncan Riley) think we need to look a little closer at what happens when we meet trolls online.

So for what it’s worth here’s my view and note: I report the world as it is, not as I wish it was. Communities form around negative values as well as positive. Twas ever thus.

1. Social Media: Friend or Stranger?

If Gary even looks at me crossly I burst into tears. His approval means so much to me…. (plus he’s a sucker for a crying female). But an outsider, a stranger I’ve never met, calling me stupid, unattractive or unknowledgeable? Pffft. Please. My family are my world. Some random bloke or chick on Twitter get blocked or removed and it’s over. Done and dusted. Move on now. Friend’s can hurt you. Strangers never should be allowed that close. If you are feeling low, you are vulnerable but having a good day? What do you care about some loser …? And don’t friggin’ retweet them as you are rewarding BAD behaviour.

2. Ignoring doesn’t work?

If the critic keeps going, gets my friends involved, gets a gang involved, then it’s bullying. One criticism is not bullying but sustained effort encouraging others to join in, is cyber bullying. Now I have a range of responses.

NegativeComments in Social Media
click to see a bigger image

Ignore if you can, sue or have removed if you need to, fight back if you must. But don’t let it get to you. 

3. You get the “community” you deserve

Dawson is in an industry notorious for bullying females. Women’s magazines bully and stalk celebrities openly gossiping and photoshopping lies into the discussion. And we, to our eternal shame, make those shows and magazines the top sellers, with the most eyeballs. But you get the audience you deserve.

Dawson has commented on Twitter before:

“I was reading on Twitter someone saying, ‘What happened to your face – you should sue your surgeon’. I am open about what I have had done and have nothing to hide. I have said I stopped Botox a while ago.

“If you read that stuff all the time, it can erode your self-esteem. And it’s mostly women who attack.

“I do worry about social media. Young, pretty girls (such as Top Model contestants) are really vulnerable to that kind of spite. I do feel really protective of them.” (Daily Telegraph 2011)

But I want to point out that Dawson herself comes from an industry where attacking women is de rigeur – their fashion, their choice of mate, their hairstyle. But it’s ok because they are celebrities, y’know someone who is on telly or in film. And sometimes it gets personal:

And what about the behaviour of Charlotte Dawson who has described a critic of Alex Perry as a “sad attention whore”, a “fame whore”, a “Westie scrag” a “suburban fattie” and a “sad ugly moll.” As executive producer, has Sarah tried to rein Charlotte in at all?

“too true. Enough about the bogan … she’s someone elses nightmare now.”
… I think Cassi’s only going to end up being the poster girl for Sunbury Centrelink.” Charlotte Dawson

(from Melinda Tankard Reist, women’s advocate)

I don’t have the time to list all the “sharp tongued witticisms” that Charlotte Dawson has inflicted over the years suffice to say: It’s hard to understand a woman who overreacted – yes overreacted – to a  nutjob stranger on Twitter saying “go hang yourself”  and then retweets abuse sent to her, while slagging off all and sundry and making a career out of it. EDIT: Brad Kreft NZTV found all the tweets from Charlotte Dawson – interesting view of this woman. Bullying of a ANTM contestant on Alex Perry’s Facebook page by CD. Question: are victims of bullying become bullies themselves – learned behaviour?

It’s never ok to trash someone because they trashed someone else. But human nature is as human nature does. And if you are mean and bitchy, you’ll gather mean and bitchy people around you. Don a flak jacket and get on with it, or change. That simple.
Social Web - Reputation Management Cycles diagram

My tips to you would be: if you take a bitchy voice, expect a bitchy community, ignore strangers and just block them, surround yourself with people who love you and turn the bloody thing off (Facebook, Twitter) if it disrupts your mood.  We can’t teach the next generation if we can’t do it ourselves.

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  • http://twitter.com/lovechildsays Danielle Lovechild

    In every industry there is bitchiness and cattiness; not just Charlotte Dawson’s industry. Albeit, her’s is far more media-related and has a large/wide community audience. No one is denying that.

    What started out with CD defending a twitter attack on someone she knows by a twitter user saying “Go hang yourself” escalated into what you see today.

    Ignorance is not the answer – ignorance, after all, is blissful. CyberBullying is a real issue and it’s articles/pieces like this one, that lessen the severity towards CyberBullying and associating it as “Pot. Kettle. Black” that demeans real people who have attempted to and/or have taken their own lives because of CyberBullying.

    And that is what we’re teaching our next generation. That this type of behaviour is okay.

    • http://laurelpapworth.com LaurelPapworth

      Just to correct something here: the troll told Charlotte to hang herself. Charlotte chose to retweet that tweet for whatever reasons and then another follower chose to jump in the discussion about her fiance. Don’t reward trolls by retweeting their bile would be lesson number one surely?

      • MadamBipolar

        She wanted to take them head on. She has courage.

        • CosmicRami

          She has more courage then most of us. It’s not easy being told to die over a 100 times in one night.

          • Pleasure O’Reilly

            it would have only been once, but she kept checking back to see if they would write some more.

  • MadamBipolar

    This is appalling. You are just dancing on Charlotte’s sick bed.
    I have never heard of anyone being admitted to hospital for being called a bogan repeatedly. The two just don’t fit. These were calls to suicide, Laurel!!! She was told to go hang herself on many occasions.
    And to correct the record, I am one of her followers, a mental health advocate, and Charlotte has been nothing but loving and supportive of my work. So your analysis that she has been throwing vitriol all over the Twittersphere is just wrong.
    Being told to hang yourself is never cool. It is priming someone to do it, as is what happened in this case. You say we are all responsible for how we react, but what if she had a pre-existing mental illness? Or are you one of those who believe mental illness is a form of weakness?
    Anyway I will leave you to your high kicks and conga lines.

    • CosmicRami

      Agree. See above.

    • Ms.M.aka kerry

      Madam Bipolar I was online with Charlotte at 2am.I saw it all,not some snippets that suit these writers.I saw the most disgusting filth ever.Two examples that made me cry were One saying he was going to dig up her deceased mother and do terrible things.The second sent pics of dead bloody bodies of babies.How the hell is this okay?I watched her show the pills and then sat here at home in Victoria wondering what to do.Tried twitter friends,nothing,so I rang lifeline in Sydney, they helped me and police were dispatched.It is almost 24 hours and I still feel sad that it got to this.My twitter name was in the papers quoting please help her,but it took someone who dosen;t personally know her but very much cares about this disgusting acts that have been going on for weeks.The one thing that other followers and I talked about in the early hours was that nobody in the “celeb” world were there,just us and apart from Jo Thornely has sent back a message. She needs real people around to care for her after this horrible time not fakes and definately not to go back online for some time.We need tougher laws to protect as some of these nasties had made multiple accounts within that 2 hours of full on egging her to die.I do not want anyone to go through this again and when things die down I would like some support to make a “Charlotte’s Law” so this never ever happens again. Thankyou. Kerry Central Victoria

      • Beulah

        “We need tougher laws to protect as some of these nasties had made multiple accounts within that 2 hours of full on egging her to die.”

        Kerry, you did a great thing alerting servcies to check on Charlotte and yes, like everyone, she needs friends around who care about her as a person. How on earth though, can we legislate adequately enough, to protect an adult from themselves – seriously?

         

        Social media provides us with the means of having conversations with people we know and people we don’t know and like any conversation, we need to take responsibility for the things we say. I can guarantee you though, if we start making laws to govern ‘what we say to other adults’ on social media, it will have to include the roll Charlotte played in this sorry saga.

         

        If Charlotte has other issues going on in her life as she says, then spending more time cultivating close, meaningful relationships and less time inciting riots on Twitter might help. As someone who suffers with depression, I speak from experience on that issue.

  • Jimmy Rustles

    LOL what is this fail?

  • http://twitter.com/mikedmckenzie Michael McKenzie

    There seems to be a growing trend in response to cyber bullying of this kind that involves the bullied party inciting their group of followers or fans to respond in kind to the bullies. This seems to me to be a truly awful strategy and only further entrenches the type of hateful community you describe.

    There has been a long-standing tradition of public figures never giving publicity to hate-mail and death threats because this only tends to encourage more of the same. Where social media already makes such abuse public, blocking, deleting and ignoring seems far more useful than any other form of attention such as re-tweeting abuse.

    • Natalie Anne Lanoville

      I disagree. I have frequently been the subject of online bullying, and the only thing that my bullies have in common is that they don’t care what I think of them. However many of them have responded to being outed and publicly shamed, because they seem to care at least a little bit about their reputations.

  • Sally

    I find it interesting that everyone assumes it was a suicide attempt. Who says she’s not in rehab? Dawson’s no angel yet here goes everyone, deifying her. Very strange.

    Great post. Yes, IGNORE the idiots. No one is forcing her to read all the @ replies. Or respond to them. As for trying to get someone fired, well that’s just low.

  • Ames

    “I don’t have the time to list all the “sharp tongued witticisms” that Charlotte Dawson has inflicted over the years suffice to say: It’s hard to understand a woman who overreacted – yes overreacted – to a nutjob stranger on Twitter saying “go hang yourself” and then retweets abuse sent to her, while slagging off all and sundry and making a career out of it.
    It’s never ok to trash someone because they trashed someone else. But human nature is as human nature does. And if you are mean and bitchy, you’ll gather mean and bitchy people around you. Don a flak jacket and get on with it, or change. That simple.”

    Maybe you should follow your own advice?

    • Ames

      I did bold ““sharp tongued witticisms” that Charlotte Dawson has inflicted over the years” AND “It’s never ok to trash someone because they trashed someone else.” but it didn’t appear.

    • Ellie

      ummm the author listed a tone of examples in the article

  • PD

    She wasn’t just told once or twice to hang herself, was she? No, she was repeatedly told to kill herself, she was called the C word, there were disgusting violent images being sent to her, her fertility was mocked, basically she was a target of a group set out to make her life hell. Do you have time to mention some of those?

    Your advice is good for someone who is thick skinned who gets the occaisional troll attack. What about HOURS of it, non stop? This isn’t a case of your usual internet trolling, and it’s inexcusable. Yes, she’s not perfect. Yes, many agree that she didn’t handle it well. But what was said to her made me feel ill. She didn’t deserve THAT.

    As for the employee, well I’m sure Monash Uni have a social media policy and I’m sure it states not to harass people online. (As a social media professional, I would think you would know all about that.) People need to be familiar with their workplace SM policy, I don’t have sympathy for them if they break the rules and get caught. (Especially when telling someone who lost a loved one to suicide to go hang themself!) This is why these policies exist.

    PS. CD has openly talked about her depression in the past and worked to raise awareness for mental illness. Some people CAN’T just shrug it off as you suggest.

    • Chris

      Actually it appears to be the work of mostly one person who created a bunch of different twitter accounts. I agree its better to block rather than retweet trolls. And if you really are getting flooded with replies, switch to only seeing tweets by people you follow. They can’t make you read what they send.

  • http://twitter.com/en_gy Neil

    My tips to you would be: if you take a bitchy voice, expect a bitchy community, ignore strangers and just block them, surround yourself with people who love you and turn the bloody thing off (Facebook, Twitter) if it disrupts your mood. We can’t teach the next generation if we can’t do it ourselves.
    Here’s to that Laurel! It is the pot calling the kettle black. It’s been suggested to me that if I “Don’t support her, then be quiet” Well no, people have different opinions and views and to hell be with being quiet. She has on many occasions been nasty and threatened people (like this one https://mobile.twitter.com/MsCharlotteD/status/151591804360339458 that I called her on and she blocked me)The whole thing is a sad, sad situation. Just turn the bloody thing off if it gets too much. Amen to that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/syd.pup Steve Allwood

      Context Neil, she was talking about someone who abused a poor defenceless animal in that tweet. The woman she ‘went after’ was bullying one of her followers with suicide taunts when the person was already thinking about – she stood up for the girl & then got attacked. Have you seen what was said? What she has said in the past is NOTHING like the abuse she copped. I hope the police take action against these trolls

      • CosmicRami

        Due to the abuse that we experienced last night, I have already started compiling a list of user names of which are to be handed to the police. As for Neil’s comments, I am once again in 100% disagreement with him. But have already been down this path with him, and will say no more.

        • http://twitter.com/en_gy Neil

          No Steve, I don’t agree with you there. It is *exactly* the same thing. No ifs, buts, or maybes.

          Interesting to note that after I posted the link to the tweet where Charlotte was threatening violence, it appears to have been deleted from her Twitter.
          What are the odds of a tweet from 9 months ago being deleted all of a sudden like that?

        • Ali

          Have fun compiling your list – fact is there were about 3 to 5 people trolling her and it was the SAME PEOPLE making multiple accounts. She commented on her own twitter many times saying how funny it was these trolls were creating multiple accounts. I’m sorry, but knowing the history of this woman it all stinks of publicity & attention seeking (new book out, does a TV interview after only 2 hours of being admitted to a psych unit). People need to start digging deeper by looking at the facts/history of Charlotte Dawson and stop being sheep and giving this woman the attention that she loves & craves. The worst thing about this whole thing is that she part of an anti bullying campaign. What kind of message does she send to those that are victims of bullying? Her final tweets/actions straight after the tweeting incident is basically telling those victims to stop fighting, give up and go and top yourself. So wrong and so sad.

          • Ali

            BTW, I encourage all of you that are jumping on the “poor Charlotte” bandwagon to do your research first.

      • http://www.facebook.com/milorad.ivovic Milorad Ivović

        I can’t believe you’re defending that kind of response, from anyone, to anyone, about anything.

  • Kate

    Did you see the comments on her feed? Not okay. Obviously she has other things going on and these comments just acted as an trigger to these feelings. The difference is with Charlotte is that she never told anyone to go hang themselves or put their face in a toaster or livestream her own death.
    Name calling is one thing.
    Calling for a person’s death is another.
    I know you think you’re a social media expert but you are not a mental health expert and I think you’re best if you stick to your posts on google + and CSS pages for now.

    Best

    Kate

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705842596 Melissa Mitchell

    Having experienced an extremely similar scenario as Charlotte (though I hadn’t contacted anyone’s boss etc), I suspect you have no idea what it’s really like to come under a barrage of attack like this. I received several hundred emails, tweets and messages on my FB page over the period of a week. Because I suggested that someone’s blog was vapid and hardly an example of excellent writing.

    All hell broke loose and while in the early days, it is easy to say it all bounces off….eventually a sustained attack takes it’s toll. There are only so many times I can be told to kill myself, that my children would be better off dead, that I deserved some of the terrible things that have happened to me (including sexual abuse as a child).

    Your article smacks of schadenfreude and pettiness. It doesn’t become you.

    • Adam

      What ever happened to discretion being the better part of valour? Why does everyone feel the need to post or blog (yes, I’m aware of the irony)? Is it the kick of seeing your name or ‘avatar’ being published? Is the antagonism or controversy you engender? You yearn to be heard? Your opinion ‘matters’? Regardless, what is missing amongst online communities is discretion! Offering inane, banal, silly or flippant remarks lacking appropriate forethought have always got people in trouble but those who ‘hear’ your comment nowadays is greatly magnified online. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but why does everybody now feel that everyone else should hear it? Why are they then surprised in the anonymous online environment that every fringe lunatic who can access a computer or smartphone is not entitled to their opinion?! Use your discretion!

    • http://laurelpapworth.com LaurelPapworth

      Actually I’ve had numerous attacks and death threats against me and I’ve involved the Police if it become serious. I don’t advocate doing nothing – but I also don’t advocate tweeting abuse back or giving other emotionally damaged individuals (trolls) a megaphone to be rewarded for abusing my followers.

  • KMFA

    If you can’t see the difference between name calling and telling someone they should kill themselves, then I feel very sorry for you and you are in the wrong business.

  • Chris

    What’s that stench? Oh yeah, victim blaming.

    • Lacey

      I smell any grab for publicity, maybe the docs at the psych unit do too? Considering they advised her against talking to the media just hours after being admitted.

  • http://twitter.com/spotrick Steve Thomas

    I recall dinner, years ago, at a friend’s place, when her 3 yo daughter came to the table in tears. Asked what was wrong, she replied “He said I was naughty!”
    Well, yeah, that’s a forgivable response in a child, but by the time we’ve grown up we should have a bit more perspective. Someone calls you a slut. Well, are you? If so, you probably don’t care, if not, then they’re wrong aren’t they? And anyway, why do you care what some stranger thinks?
    Internet 101. Dealing with trolls: ignore them, block them, but ffs don’t respond to them! Someone should offer celeb training in social media. ;)

  • Jo Thornely

    This is a remarkably limited assessment of what occurred. Calling someone names is completely different to sending someone pictures of dead children and suggesting that things be done to their dead mother. You’re not obliged to be sensitive or even sympathetic, but it would be much more dignified and truthful if you adequately represented the extent of the abuse.

    • http://www.facebook.com/milorad.ivovic Milorad Ivović

      Abuse which she actively invited and encouraged. She promoted it to 30,000 followers and on national television. People signed up to twitter just to abuse her, and she knew it. In fact she was happy to exploit that fact to keep mentioning her book over and over.

    • Lacey

      Pictures that she had to click on a link, was she expecting to see cute puppies? She is an adult, is she naive? I unfollowed her many months ago, the level of aggression coming from her own tweets was unpleasant.

  • ExPatHaggis

    Well aren’t you just a ray of sunshine.
    Chuck in some graphs, a snide remark or two, and there you have it….Laurel’s word to the wise…Please!!!
    Your stab at trying to sound diconnected and logical, are about as tangible as a bucket of Scottish Mist…So the next time you feel the need to put fingers to keyboard, have a break…Have a KitKat!!!
    Toodloo xxx

  • Faithsonshyne

    I would have expected more from you Laurel. At the end of the day this ‘social media’ in all it’s forms has eroded communication and basic respect. Your suck it up and don a flak jacket attitude is not really apt when being sent death threats. Why the need to be so hard line?

  • CosmicRami

    Laurel – as someone who has been an admirer for some time of
    your work, you have really disappointed me with this piece.

    Firstly – You are a social media expert. You give training
    on social media, of which I have sent many people your way. So I know you
    understand the space, the industry and more importantly the dynamics of Social
    Media. Like you, I too am in the same industry.

    Charlotte in my opinion did not overreact. Bernadette (who’s
    partner committed suicide by hanging) jumped in to support Charlotte and was
    subjected to troll abuse herself (told to go hang herself). This is the first
    sign of weakness in your argument – Bernadette hasn’t ‘made a career’ of
    slagging people online. She was an innocent bystander stepping in to protect
    someone she is influenced by. Much like you would do the same if Gary was being
    attacked online. In this hypothetical, how would you feel if you were told to
    go hang yourself?

    Your second point in regards to us being responsible for ‘when
    and how’ we are offended. Once again, you have only considered your point of
    view of the world here. What about young LGBTIQ youths who are told everyday
    online that they are worthless or ‘should die’? What about when the Westboro Baptist
    church pickets the funerals of dead soldiers in the US? Many people, especially
    young people do not have the life skills capable of ‘choosing’ when and how to
    be offended. The world is a big bad place, and I don’t need to explain to
    someone of your expertise that the online world can be much worse.

    Like you, I too personally take the approach of blocking and
    deleting people. But this is my personal choice. And everyone has one of these.
    Charlotte’s choice is to show her followers what is out there when it comes to
    the negativity and abuse she receives on Twitter. Regardless, this is her
    choice. The comedian Corrine Grant posted a response to the incidents that have
    occurred over the last 24 hours. Corrine notes a very good point here. One
    that I would have thought, someone of your level of expertise would have picked
    up. If you turn the cheek – the bullying doesn’t go away. It goes to another
    cheek. Another person. Another young person.

    My foundation – The Community Brave Foundation – which aims
    to eradicate online bullying, homophobia, transphobia and youth suicide has
    worked with Charlotte in our campaigns. She has been one of our strongest
    supporters and last night we were also subjected to the same level of attack from
    the ‘trolls’. Have you completed a
    keyword search on all the awful tweets that were sent our way last night? Have
    you used any social monitoring tools to gauge the level of distress that last
    night kept me up having to protect my branding until about 7am this morning?
    Because once again, someone of your calibre in the social media world should be
    doing research on these topics before making very public statements like this.

    If you have completed this research, you would have realised
    that a US based group, jumped on the bandwagon citing Charlotte was threatening
    free speech. The group, which works under the twitter name of @4Gag has almost
    1 million followers. Members of this group started attacking both Charlotte and
    The Community Brave Foundation – yes a US based group who knows nothing about us still used Twitter to
    launch a full scale attack on something they had no idea about. Once again,
    this highlights a major flaw in your argument – “If you have a bitchy voice,
    expect a bitchy community” – where is the bitchiness in what we are trying to
    achieve with the Community Brave Foundation? Why did we deserve to be told to
    die over and over again? Because our fantastic ambassador, who has helped our
    foundation and young people so much, is associated with us? Is this the community
    we created or is this a group of hijackers who live for making other people’s
    lives hell?

    You state that Charlotte is notorious for bullying women. I don’t
    know this side of Charlotte. From my online conversations with her, from
    viewing her twitter account, from the work she has helped us with – I can vouch
    for her character and her work. I can also tell you as the chairman of
    Community Brave, I have received so much positive feedback from all of our
    supporters, especially from the LGBTIQ community about Charlotte Dawson. Not
    only does Charlotte campaign against anti-bullying, but has attended nearly
    every marriage equality rally and been an ambassador for the Aids Council of
    NSW previously. She has mentored so many young girls into the cut-throat world
    of fashion and helped them understand the dynamics and logistics of this world.
    Do not be fooled by the one-hour show you see on TV or the gossip column in
    magazine – as this is a serious flaw in character judgement.

    Along with Community Brave, I am also the treasurer board
    member for Consumer Activity Network (Mental Health) and I deal with issues on
    mental health on a daily basis. I can tell you first hand, the level of abuse
    that was directed towards both Charlotte and Community Brave last night, would
    have even sent the strongest person (even you) into shock. The harshness of the
    comments, the number of tweets, the images of dismembered
    children with wishes it would be us had me looking for the closest bottle
    shop at 4am. It was not pleasant, and regardless of anything that Charlotte or
    anyone puts out there – nobody deserves to be treated that way. I plea with you
    to see reason here. You are someone’s daughter, someone’s partner, someone’s
    best friend – So is Charlotte. So are the young people we look after. Even IF
    (and it’s a big ‘if’) Charlotte was encouraging this behaviour – should we expect
    what we received in return? Did we deserve this? What about
    this?

    Switching off Twitter would only fuel the fire for these
    low-life people who think that pummelling insults through online channels gives
    them strength. Eventually – someone, somewhere is going to have to make a
    stand. And that is what Community Brave is trying to do. Give people the
    resources, tools and knowledge to make that stand.

    I know you and I are on the same team Laurel. I’ve sent you
    to my clients shared working spaces, I’ve sent people to your training classes
    and I generally think that you are a strong influencer in the industry. But this post has significant weaknesses in
    it, and shows that your research was not completed properly before jazzing this
    all together and more so it shows that you have not considered the situation
    from the many point of views that this huge issue represents in society today.
    As someone who teaches community management, I was expecting better.

    Social media has a very important role to play in how women
    are perceived in the media in general. I encourage you to watch a documentary
    called MissRepresentation
    and instead of using social media to divide the community, use it to connect
    with women who are subjected to such abhorrent abuse online. You are a key
    influencer, being a top blogger listed by Forbes, yet instead of using this
    post to highlight the dangers of troll abuse, the subjecting of women to online
    assaults or even linking a single resource for young people to click through to
    a site that provides them with tools about online bullying, you gave us a
    tabloid article about Charlotte Dawson.

    It’s unfortunate that it has damaged your credibility in my
    opinion, because this post does nothing to lend any sort of benefit to young
    people who will read this and only feel more isolated and alienated by it.

    That’s how you made me feel today.

    I’m not one to hold grudges. As you have expressed your
    opinion, I too am now expressing mine. I have previously asked you to work with
    The Community Brave Foundation, of which you have been unable to.

    My offer still stands. Work with us in resolving this
    problem. Come and fight with us on the frontline.

    Anyone can write a blog. It takes someone of true influence to
    make those actions speak louder than words.

    Rami Mandow (@CosmicRami)

    Chairman – The Community Brave
    Foundation

    • mattrule

      Well said Rami, and sorry to hear/see the impact this war has had on Community Brave. Stay strong x

    • http://www.facebook.com/milorad.ivovic Milorad Ivović

      It’s important to choose your champions carefully. I wouldn’t call Hitler a posterchild for the anti-circumcision campaign, for example. Charlotte Dawson was NOT a selfless advocate against bullying. She was a shameless self-promoter using the issue to sell books.

      • CosmicRami

        Disagree. She has been our supporter from day 1. That’s September 2011, when we started putting Community Brave together. Long before the book was even considered. And we stand by our choice 110%. Charlotte is a brilliant advocate for our program and for the LGBTIQ community.

        • TakeYourHeadOutOfTheSand

          Rami are you saying that you are 110% supportive of Charlottes behaviour on solical media platforms? have you seen some of her tweets? have a look at these sceen grabs and then say again that she is a brilliant advocate.

          http://www.throng.com.au/2012/08/the-other-side-of-the-charlotte-dawson-twitter-abuse-saga/

          Your foundation is about anti-bullying isn’t it? – are you not concerned that you will lose credibility for yourself and your foundation by continuing to support a known bully?

    • Ms.M.aka kerry

      Dear Rami. Please read my post to Madam Bipolar. I also have the full script of all the tweets to Charlotte at that moment.As I said this has affected me as yes I do have bipolar disorder and it has rocked me for now but I will regroup.I just feel that in some way I was lucky (if that is the word) to have had a bad dream and woke and checked on her account.I want this awful outcome to be of a new law that must come into play so another teen or adult dosen’t feel they should hurt themselves through the influence of this silly social outlet. Thankyou. Kerry.

    • http://laurelpapworth.com LaurelPapworth

      Yeah I’m very uncomfortable with your organisation, lack of clear direction and attachment to spokespeople who are themselves bullies and abusive. You claim you don’t know about CD writing in her book, and tweeting abusive statements but you researched everything else so well…? And for the record: I speak from a place of knowledge, experience and compassion – do not teach children to abuse others and not expect abuse back, don’t teach them to give oxygen to abusers by repeating and repeating their comments, don’t end up in hospital when turning the computer off at 3am would be a smarter thing to do. You need to read my piece again, Rami, as you’ve missed a number of key points – including the EIGHT ways to deal with abuse, ALL of which are valid. But actively growing a community of 28,000 trolls and bullies is not one of them.. Dont feed the trolls does not mean do nothing. It means don’t actively build a community of abusers around you.
      If this post can stop one more man, woman or child from getting themselves backed into a corner by a lunatic fringe group, and ending up in hospital then my work is done. I stand by everything I have written.

      • CosmicRami

        I fail to see your point here: ”
        You claim you don’t know about CD writing in her book, and tweeting abusive statements but you researched everything else so well…? ” … I don’t think I ever mentioned her book. In fact, anyone who seems to think that what occurred was harsh, doesn’t seem to bring it up at all. Others, who continue to cry “You deserved it” seem to be constantly reaching for this. Think about it.

        As mentioned in my post – I actually agree with your approach of block and delete. It is my approach too. I agree with your EIGHT ways to deal with abuse. But thats me. That’s how I use my social media. That’s how you use your social media. We are all different and everyone has the ability to use their own social platforms as they see fit. This cannot be more evident by the trolls who seem to think it is ok to continue with this behaviour.

        My issue is that your post reads like this: If you dress like a slut, expect to get raped. If you feed the trolls, then you deserve to be blasted online.

        As I have stated, I do not encourage engaging with online fools – this is my mantra. I block and delete. But THAT IS ME. That is my approach. Not everyone’s. We can only offer advice (esp. in your influential position) that is non biased, and more importantly non-judgemental. You are a thought leader in your field, I would have assumed that this meant you would take the step back and see all sides of the story.

        Then you go on to say this: “And for the record: I speak from a place of knowledge, experience and compassion” – yet your post has no links to lifeline, headspace or any other community services where young people, who read your post – can find further info / help about. Even the tabloid newspapers always reference this information as the boilerplate at the end of each article.

        Another point you make: “don’t end up in hospital when turning the computer off at 3am would be a smarter thing to do.” – this is rather insulting to everyone who has received online abuse and then thought about suicide. And let me tell you, there are plenty. I receive at least 1 email per week about another young person who has committed suicide. I repeat, PER WEEK. Walking away, turning the computer off, only means you have to face it when you get back. Blocking and deleting works well, but when you are being hit with over 100 tweets in a few hours, then it does take its toll. In a comment below you say that you received death threats and abuse. Yet, you do not share your ‘knowledge and experience’ about how you got through these incidents in your article. Do you not think this information would have had more value that your tabloid piece? If I was a Forbes influential person, and I received death threats my first action would be to educate and provide my followers with info on how I dealt with it, and a few points of advice. I do not see this in your post.

        It’s a huge shame that you have felt ‘uncomfortable’ with my organisation, and yet this is the first I am hearing about it from you. Our direction is clearly mapped on our website, and can be heard in several videos I have spoken in. Our spokespeople, whom include the general public – people who follow you – understand what we are trying to achieve and put their hand up to help us.

        In the end my point is this: If you are in a position of influence, as you clearly state you are, then use your social platforms like this blog – for social good. You could have approached this article with a different angle, still made your points and provided a more positive overview of how it could have been handled. I honestly feel on this one Laurel, you have let a lot of people down. A lot of victims who will read this and think – if someone on the Forbes list thinks like this, then I’m never going to survive the trolls, and im going to give up on social media now.

        Not very social, is it?

        • Brett

          Rami, No doubt Community Brave’s heart is in the right place however you need to google Charlotte Dawson bullying and there are a lot of sites/forums talking about it and a lot of people commenting. It is not just a vindictive few that think she has been out of line in cyberland. In a sense your organisation is condoning her tweets and saying it is OK to say some one kill Bryan Boy kill kill kill. That guy is a gay man. She called someone else custard flinging batshit crazy, after that girl (Tanya Heti) had apologised she still publicly flagellated her in the mainstream media. Was that harassment? As a person who is speaking on behalf of that organisation is that the way people should behave in cyber space? Seriously you need to google search and think about it. As by have her as an authority on this topic could make the people you are trying to help feel powerless. If you think Charlotte Dawson’s Twitter and cyber behaviour should be the example everyone should follow please tell us. By the way I should add the attack on her by multiple trolls was not warranted. But there is a whole issue to address here not just that one attack. Don’t mistake the support you can give her as a friend and the support you give her as a spokesperson of your organisation.

          • http://twitter.com/en_gy Neil

            Brett, you’ve hit the nail on the head here.

            It seems to be a case of “do as we say, not as we do”, and when you’re the spokesperson for something that is unacceptable.

            As I keep saying, death threats and the like on Twitter are horrible. But I don’t think it is unreasonable to hold people to the values of the organisation they speak for, so I don’t buy it when she dismisses her comments as ‘harmless fun’ while saying that people should be held accountable for what they say.

    • Leo43

      Rami, Is your organisation against homophobia? the go to this link scroll down and you will see a tweet by your spokesperson aka Charlotte Dawson saying “you’re a faggot” – now is that appropriate? As a gay guy I take offence to that term. But is that ok within your organisation guidelines? http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/71622554.html?page=1#comments

  • Beulah

    There’s been a common saying around for years, “drop dead”, so would you take that seriously too and go do it? FFS get a grip – go hang yourself; drop dead; piss off; drop off – they are all retorts, not death threats. Charlotte chose to make this a public stoush by contacting the original commenters workplace, then taking it to the media, but she opened Pandora’s box instead. Laurel is right.

    • Trisha

      Absolutely agree with Beulah n Laurel.

  • Tim Murphy

    I agree that Charlotte can be abusive towards others.

    I agree that retweet the troll tweets is a made idea.

    I agree that Charlotte should have blocked and where possible forgotten what she was reading.

    I agree that Charlotte should have turned Twitter off.

    Having said all that I think it is appalling that you imply Charlotte got what she was asking for. The way I see it your post it like saying “she was raped because of the way she was dressed”.

    Your article would have been more effective if was along the lines of “Here is how to prevent what happened to Charlotte Dawson happening to you”.

  • http://twitter.com/AlphaKnowledge Christopher Donohue

    Laurel, I have been a long admirer of your work. However this post to me has come across as a bit insensitive. I do not watch TV and do not know the history of Charlotte’s unkind words to others. But as she has previously identified that she has suffered from depression and to recieve calls to hang herself etc via Twitter, it would be very challenging to ignore and more than likely trigger some negative emotions within her, thus making unfortunate judgement calls to retweet those terrible posts. I am not for jobbing people into their employers about awful tweets that some people post, but then again that is why social media policies exist and should be adhered to.

    I do not know Charlotte, but I do know that when you are in an emotional state or suffer depression, having any negative comments made towards you can trigger an adverse reaction to your well being. Having suffered severe bullying at school as a child and child abuse at home, plus other signifcant trauma, negative events or words can be more amplified thus reactions can occur (that most cannot understand). These things and depression cannot just be got over with, they are burdens many people live with including me.

    Everyone (including me) should be mindful of what we say about each other as we do not know what impact it may have on the recipient.

  • StayClassyLaurelPapworth

    And capitalizing on someone else’s tragedy (you can know nothing about since you aren’t Charlotte Dawson yourself) when it’s trendy enough to get your blog more views is classy right? Until you’ve been in the position of being a public figure as she’s in you can’t comment on it with grace or empathy.

    • Penelope

      Yeah nothing worse than someone exploiting tragedy to further their career

      • Beulah

        Like you, Laurel was merely expressing her opinion, but on a subject that is quite clearly within her area of expertise. She commented on the facts, not the emotives.

  • Mali

    Someone sent me this link. My first reaction was “who is Laurel Papworth???”. My second reaction is oh gawd not another woman hating woman pretend feminist. Perhaps Dawson isn’t as mentally strong as as what some of us are, perhaps the sustained abuse was just to much bare. Either way someone else’s painful situation shouldn’t be fodder for a column. This whole situation again highlights why more stringent terms of service is required for social media sites.

  • Adam

    I simply don’t get it. If Charlotte was an angsty teen still struggling with her identity, future prospects and the meaning of life, I could understand. Surely there comes a time when a grown adult says I do not give a rodent’s posterior about your opinion; let alone the whinnying and bleating of some anonymous online heroes. And, if you are the emotionally fragile type, take steps to protect yourself! Social media is not compulsory- and if your publicist says it is, let them type your responses! Turn off twitter!

    • Nina

      #buymybook

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Smith/100000362099157 Jane Smith

    “we are responsible for when and how we are offended” – Ridiculous. So if someone says something racist/sexist then it’s *your* fault?!? Do you have any idea what you’re saying? Haven’t you read the stories of children in the US eventually succumbing to the bullying and killing themselves? This is such a dangerous article. And you clearly get the followers you deserve given some of the lack of compassion shown by your commentators. When they turn on you, see how you like it.

  • http://twitter.com/jamesharley james harley

    I don’t think simply blocking was an option for Charlotte. I had a look at some of the accounts that were trolling her, and they had been purely set up to attack her… I would say a dozen or so accounts that I looked at had only two or so tweets, with each trolling her. If that is the way of a concerted troll attack, perhaps there needs to be some responsibility on twitter to develop some sort of check? Surely it wouldn’t be too hard for it to detect that a number of new accounts are being set up, purely to tweet a particular user? Even a sudden influx of @ replies to someone could indicate an attack…

    • Richard

      It’s called deleting. You can delete posts. She is guilty of attacking people herself. Don’t forget that she also works in an industry that is all about attacking the self esteem of young and impressionable people. Particularly girls. I agree that the attacks were vile, but I don’t think that this person should be deified because of them. She needs to be taken to task on the vile comments that she has made in the past. I’ve read at least one homophobic attack that she has made towards someone on twitter. Everything has to be put into perspective here. I’ve been trolled on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook in the past. Hell, I’ve even been trolled on IRC. You can switch your computer off and walk away from it. In fact, I suggest to everyone I know, that once the time hits 6pm, all phones and computers should be switched off and put aside for a little “you” time. The world does not revolve around what other people think or say about you.
      Good article Laurel.

      • http://twitter.com/en_gy Neil

        Well said Richard. Deleting/blocking/moving on is a proven method, feeding the trolls just gives oxygen to the fire.

        Speaking of IRC *slaps you in the face with a large trout*

  • Frank

    ill just say u dont get taken away by an ambulance cos ur crying ur eyes out…something else happend – drugs or suicide attempt its not clear because the journalists are trying to protect Charlotte, which is bullshit if she wants to make a big case about these twitter trolls, show us the results of their work….tell us that she had a drug overdose or tried to slit her wrists its only makes the message more powerful than “she was rushed to hospital in the early hours of the morning” although many would say that revealing it would just fuel the trolls fire…my solution BLOCK AND IGNORE dont be a hero and dont fight a war on ur own you will lose

  • Call me cynical.

    I saw Amanda Meade’s tweet earlier today that Charlotte Dawson had recorded an interview with Sixty Minutes. And I’m afraid my concern for her ended there.

    Surely, if she was in such a desperate state of crisis 24 hours ago, she is unwell enough to do this sort of interview.

    Sorry, I’m with Laurel on this.

    Charlotte has a history of being the abuser and has been hoist on her own petard.

    Which she appears to be using now to sell her book.

    • reata

      what, “now” when she’s dead…? seems legit.

      • Shesus

        Being dead doesn’t change anything or how one lived their life. She hasn’t suddenly turned into a saint and martyr because she’s dead.

        • Ellie

          While a few days ago she was evidently serious about suicide, it doesn’t mean that she wasn’t using the threat of suicide as a platform for attention a year ago. Additionally there is not necessarily a direct causal relationship between the cyber bullying and her death. There are other factors such as her financial debt, her career that took a turn for the worst because while she was acting as an advocate she did it in a very unprofessional way and she also had issues with her ex husband. Yes its heartbreaking that she had such a rough time but Im sick of the current media negating the role she played in bullying others.

          • Michellina van Loder

            The “threat” of suicide is never for attention. Yes she courted media attention. No, she didn’t deserve to be insulted and bullied in the privacy of her own home. She used her own situation with depression, cyber bullying and being in the media, to shine a light on the injustice of online bullying. It’s happening to kids. Kids jump in front of trains. Dawson has left a lasting legacy that has opened up conversation about bullying, depression and suicide.

            Do you know that she hung herself? Cruel, sadistic irony, I know.

            RIP, charlotte. Many love your kind soul.

            Miche

          • Ellie

            @ Michelina van Loder If you read the article and the comments below its pretty clear she did a whole lot of bullying herself and used social medial as a platform to do it. You can’t launch a bullying campaign after you have delivered a range of disgusting comments online yourself… even if you deleted them to manipulate others perceptions of you and lets not forget the ones where she used words such as ‘faggot’ which are offensive to the gay community.

          • Ellie

            There are screen shots all over the internet of what she said to others over twitter and someone of her age and experience should know better than to say such things on public platform. Even if they were of a different severity it really leaves a mark on this legacy.

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  • Bridget

    I agree with Laurel that the block and delete button’s are there for a reason. Bullying is unacceptable regardless of online/offline platform, because they can hide behind the screen and avoid the consequences by no means makes it okay. I find the comments tweeted to Charlotte disgusting, by responding I think thats where it went haywire, added fuel to the fire.
    Perhaps it is her coping mechanism yet as a role model I don’t think retweeting is the best strategy, it only tells other people out there that one person has said this and its “okay to say nasty comments”. This is where the onslaught of tweets comes from.
    I saw some of the comments tweeted by Charlotte prior to the event, much of the tweets lack thought of potential consiquences and in itself are bullying. What comes around goes around, definitely at a much higher degree. How do we know the tweets Charlotte posted did not hurt someone else feelings. If people are that insensitive to express their opinions without thinking of the consequences then I don’t think having Twitter or any social media is for them.

  • Role Model

    I don’t quite understand some of the hate towards Laurel when it’s Charlotte Dawson who is meant to be the role model. In my mind Charlotte has sent the wrong examples. No, she hasn’t told anyone to go hang themselves but some of her tweets are as demeaning. Anyone who seeks to lower an individuals self confidence or self esteem is a bully.

    I have been bullied in the past, verbally on a daily basis, and am still partially affected by those comments. Social media was in it’s infancy then. And yet, i don’t find myself a supporter of Charlotte, actually the very opposite. As a role model, is she saying that it is OK to be equally as abusive to other people? When the tunnel gets really dark the only option is to take ones life?

    Charlotte wants Monash to be held responsible for allowing Tanya a position at Monash. Will the Brave Community accept responsibility for Charlotte’s obscene twits? Her twits show me she doesn’t represent what the Brave Community stands for.

    I have read her comments on the Melinda Tankard Reist site whereby she attempts to justify her role on ANTM. One of her advice was “if you don’t like what you are watching, use the remote”.

  • Sophie Benjamin

    I had a long heated discussion with my reasonably internet-savvy mother (offline, of course!) about this issue. She was of the opinion that “trolling” is disgusting and should be banned, whereas I agree with your take on this. You can block and report trolls or – and here’s a revoluntionary idea – shut off your computer and go for a walk.

  • shreddin

    My advice is the next time Charlotte decides to use her sharp tongue online everybody nicely calls her for it. Oh no , career over.

  • danielt

    Instead of addressing the absolute horrid shit that is cyberbullying, you’ve turned this into a catty article. What’s wrong with you women? It’s like you always have to bitch about each other. Sure, blocking, removing trolls might work in your world but what about people who have low self esteem? Mental disorders? It can be extremely damaging. The only way to correct this stuff is to kill anonymity on the Internet. Once that is done then I doubt you will see people continue their absolutely putrid cyber bullying tactics under their real names where employers can look up your Internet public posting history. I get trolled too and rationalize it as well… These people would never say this stuff to my face… Probably because I’m a six foot Maori who really doesn’t play into that silly shit but not everyone can do that. Especially when you have two idiots making six accounts and aliases just to type “Go kill yourself” over and over. Cyberbullying will get worse especially with the younger generation.

  • http://twitter.com/bowspearer Andrew Richards

    There’s no question that the tweets she was on the receiving end of were harsh to the nth; however to draw on a rather harsh saying – those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Charlotte has tweeted violence and death threats herself and as a judge on ANTM, she makes her living as a “mean judge” by humiliating impressionable young girls on national television – an act where if the individual is a minor (and bear in mind that they have 16 year old contestants and in some states the age of consent is 17) is essentially psychological child abuse. When you choose to live the lifestyle of a bully, then eventually what will happen is exactly what did happen- she ran afoul of bullies who were far better than she was at being lowlife scum (which is exactly what the “mean judge” role is).

    The lesson for Charlotte to take from this is that you reap what you sow. Charlotte has been through an horrendous ordeal without a doubt, but what she takes from this will determine its outcome. Charlotte has now experienced the same level of humiliation (perceived and actual) that some of her contestants have felt and truly known the sting of her own tweets when they really hit their mark. The question for her now is will she continue down the same path, only to experience a repeat of what happened down the track, or will she see it for the epiphany it is (oh and fyi, I’ve experienced some truly horrific trolling online, including when I’ve been depressed and suicidal. However I would never give the trolls the satisfaction of a suicide attempt and I would never inflict my pain on others).

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  • http://www.seoworks.com/ Christopher West

    Hi Laurel. Good tactics and love the graphs/tables/picture images. Cyber bullying is a really bad thing that is happening more frequently and I have seen/heard of teenagers committing suicide because of it. Hopefully some of them who are been bullied will read this and be able to draw some conclusions/tactics (even though I understand most of it is aimed at companies)

  • emma

    I agree with what someone wrote below, how can she manage to do all these interviews when she’s so unstable she is worthy of being treated in a hospital??? how suss! Yes the bullying is horrible but she has dealt with it the wrong way. I really fail to see how taking a photo of your self holding a bunch of pills (which is suggestive of suicide) and placing it on twitter sets a good example for other people who are experiencing to same thing. Her response resembles nothing more than attention seeking behaviour and seems like a strategy to get back at the cyber-bullies. Moreover, doesn’t she realise these are just stupid young teenagers who don’t know any better and are just feeding off her reaction??? As a grown adult how could you take all this stuff seriously!

    She’s a celebrity and they all experience backlash. if she is she is in such a fragile condition she should not be putting herself out there by staying on twitter or fuelling the fire by reposting tweets, contacting people’s workplaces etc…

  • Becki

    Ignoring does not always work. We have a son we have ignored do to his violent and abusive behavior. I left a career that was very lucrative and enjoyable after 16 years in the biz. I started a blog and decided to obtain a ghost writer to write my story . I was attacked and stabbed 21 times . My son got very angry and he started sending death threats. Please check out my blog for $500.00 he was going to have me killed.

    http://isurvivedamurderattackmyfamilydidnt.com/about/

  • alanbstardmp

    I don’t know why Charlotte topped herself, but anyone who does so over net trolls is unstable to begin with

    It’s not bullying really. They aren’t before you

  • bob

    Charlotte Dawson RIP

  • Alicia Elizabeth Graham

    There is a name for saying that someone is responsible when they are attacked. It’s called “Victim blaming”. It’s safe to say that someone saying “hang yourself” is very serious, and only the person who said it is responsible. Please stop buying into the victim blaming lie, and please stop spreading it. It is damaging to others who read this and can’t recognise the lie due to low self esteem, intellectual disability, depression, or another health condition.

  • Bridget

    Rip Charlotte you did not deserve this, shame on this article.

  • Nth West Qld

    really…? when she has ended her life…? I am an opinionated, honest, no BS woman who sometimes lacks a verbal filter, and i am very thankful that i am NOT famous in any way, because i know i would garner myself my fair share of haters. we are all vulnerable, and sometimes its the most tough talking among us who are the most so. yeah sure, we should all, and especially those in the public eye, be able to shut out irrelevant opinions of those who dont know or care about us, but i think we need to appreciate that there are times when the deluge of negativity and hate from the general public can become too much. these people are not trained for this, they can only learn the hard way. there are too many people whose path lies in the public spotlight who suffer from this syndrome exceedingly, and i think any of us in possession of an open, critical mind and a sharp tongue should be able to comprehend the price that is to be payed for speaking your mind on a national stage and the extreme level of criticism and negative attention that our society is capable of dealing out in a heartbeat.

  • Patrick

    And how did that pay off for you with your master in cyber bullying vs depressive illness ? Seems your advice didn’t work and didn’t involve seeking professional help for depression.

  • Aussie Patriot

    You’re all a bunch of left wing faggots on here. Fucking brainwashed do gooders. “aww we cant offend this group, we mustn’t say bad things about this group either” lets all just hold hands and sing kumbaya, while a gang of Africans rape our daughters, and some sicko faggot molests our sons. Rot in hell you fucking degenerate scum. And leave Charlottes memory alone, is nothing sacred to you lefty dogs? And any immigrants that wanna talk shit, you can fuck off back your own shit country instead of trying to dishonor the memory of a good person. Fuck this country is starting to shit me, the way it’s been brainwashed into thinking it’s ok to stick you bits in someones shit. Maybe we should become hardline muslims, so we can start kicking the debauched degenerate faggots out of our country…

  • Michellina van Loder

    It’s never right to speak about another human being in this way, especially via faceless cowardly rants on the Internet. And yes, it works both ways! I respect your opinion, I do, but no-one except charlotte dawson knew what was going on in her world. People speak about all the he-said-she-said stuff as if we’re talking about fictional characters (like on Top Model) but she was REAL in real life. Her suffering was real. It’s so 1950s to say anything anyone does is for attention, especially when that person said they were in pain.

    Here’s a real perspective: http://www.mamamia.com.au/social-media-2/charlottes-law/

    Anyone in their right mind or even out of their mind has to agree with the philosophy behind Charlottes Law. People need to feel compassion and empathy over all depths of this issue.

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