The 13 attributes of cyberbullying: What is a cyberbully? Can adults really be bullied by pixels? Surely it’s a case of sticks and stones? Or should we speak up? Would you support a cyberbully by advertising on Mumbrella’s site? Would you hire Tim Burrowes of Mumbrella to speak at your events or pay to attend events he is chairing? Or is this just “acceptable” competitive behaviour by someone who see’s himself as my competitor in the social media space? If you saw him bullying would you walk away, laugh at the ‘fun and games’, be too scared to get involved?

Update: June 2013 – a joke tweet the class co-wrote with me, was used in an attempt to evoke (with factual errors, the class was privately run by me, not the University) issues between me and the University. Backfired. Documented for completeness sake. See bottom of post.

I’ve structured this post with a List of Cyberstalking behaviour, further indepth analysis of cyberbullying and cyberstalking and the difference, and then a case study – unfortunately where I am on the receiving end – which is pretty well a classic Year In the Life of A CyberBully.

Note to bloggers: if you point out fallacies in the way companies do marketing, PR and so forth, you can have pretty intense debates. That is not cyberbullying. If you move that into personal attacks – continually identifying  e.g. pointing the finger and naming a person – you will find that you create a negative community with negative comments and a negative tone. It’s then pretty easy to turn them into the bullies. CyberBully by proxy I guess. Watch out for that…

Laurel Papworth’s List of CyberStalking behaviour

So I thought I’d aggregate the attributes of Cyberbullying/CyberStalking amongst adults

  1. Misinformation: including contextually inaccurate reporting, lying, lying by omission, repeating of “rumours”
  2. Magnify: Finds the smallest error or takes the most negative spin and magnifies it to become the whole “story”, damaging the victim’s reputation
  3. Passive Aggression:  appearing not to be aggressive but using passive means to be antagonistic and hostile, including the things in this list
  4. Audience: Builds an entourage of enablers ie audience to support, laugh with, incite
  5. Persistence: Constant digs  rather than one -off battles, predictability
  6. Sarcasm: Using humor to humiliate and belittle
  7. Sneaky: Behind the back politicking to ensure a supportiveaudience when bullying more openly, less risk of exposure
  8. Divide and Conquer:you are with me or with her. The SUPPORTERS of a bullying victim are made  fearful of openly supporting her or stopping the bullying. The victim is made to feel alone.
  9. Aides and Abets: encourages Anonymous to attack, and hides/supports their identity, and lack of “responsibility”
  10. Power Corrupts. Uses a position of powerto attack those who threaten that power. Weak people are not in a position to bully. Those with some power who feel threatened are more likely to bully.
  11. Incite: Ability to incite others to continue or extend the bullying publicly, supporting those that follow the cyberbully’s lead, encouraging more bystanders to join against the victim
  12. Stalking: Monitoring, eavesdropping, waiting for a situation to exploit. May include attempting to gain access to personal information etc.
  13. Elicit: antagonize to elicit a response, attempt to create an emotional storm, then spotlight “bad behaviour” on the part of the target

Number 8 (make others too fearful to openly support) has been obvious, but it’s had some positive benefits.  I have received so many emails, Facebook messages and Twitter Direct Messages of support. In the middle of each bullying event I was, like, I can deal with this, but later, I’d realise what a beautiful group of people I choose to surround myself with. Bullied people – you are not alone, or ostracised. Look around you.

What is Cyberbullying

Reachout has a list of signs of cyberbullying

Examples of cyberbullying behaviour are:

  • teasing and being made fun of
  • spreading of rumours online
  • sending unwanted messages
  • defamation.

Cyberbullying can happen to anyone and the bully can act anonymously if they want. People can also be bullied online by groups of people such as class groups or collective members of an online community.

And from The Department of Education in Victoria:

Bullying is when someone, or a group of people, upset or create a risk to another person’s health and safety – either psychologically or physically – or their property, reputation or social acceptance on more than one occasion.

  • lying and spreading rumours
  • playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate
  • mimicking
  • encouraging others to socially exclude someone
  • damaging someone’s social reputation and social acceptance
  • cyber-bullying, which involves the use of email, text messages or chat rooms to humiliate and distress.

Both sites point out that humour can be used and that a normal clash of personalities doesn’t count  – the bullying has to be sustained over a number of activities. There are some great resources here too at The Cyberbullying Resource Centre

From Encylopedia Britannica

Isn’t cyber-bullying much like traditional bullying? In some respects, cyber-bullying is similar to traditional bullying. The behaviour is always unwanted, deliberate, and relentless. Often, bullies use it to exclude the victim from a social circle for reasons such as looking different, being gay, being intelligent or gifted, or having special needs or disabilities (Shariff and Gouin, 2005, p.3-4).

The power of the Internet also means that hateful messages can be widely distributed to millions of people. And the more people who are involved, the worse bullying can become. Research on bullying has found that 30% of bystanders support perpetrators instead of victims, and that the longer the bullying persists, the more bystanders are likely to join the abuse(Sharif and Gouin, 2005, p. 5)

That is scary. But I have definitely figured out who my “real” friends are during this last year. And who will say one thing but blog/tweet another. Something positive is learning that at least! By the way, communities (online or offline) “tribe up” or “swarm” – it doesn’t mean that as they fracture into sub groups say, social media club and digicitz and others that they will turn into bully groups. But you can see the numbers are not good.

What is Cyberstalking

I didn’t realise there was a difference between cyberbullying and cyberstalking:

Recognition of adult and workplace cyber-bullying tactics

Common tactics used by cyberstalkers is to vandalize a search engine or encyclopedia, to threaten a victim’s earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. Various companies provide cases of cyber-stalking (involving adults) follow the pattern of repeated actions against a target. While motives vary, whether romantic, a business conflict of interest, or personal dislike, the target is commonly someone whose life the stalker sees or senses elements lacking in his or her own life. Web-based products or services leveraged against cyberstalkers in the harassment or defamation of their victims.

The source of the defamation seems to come from four types of online information purveyors: Weblogs, industry forums or boards, and commercial Web sites. Studies reveal that while some motives are personal dislike, there is often direct economic motivation by the cyberstalker, including conflict of interest, and investigations reveal the responsible party is an affiliate or supplier of a competitor, or the competitor itself.

Seems that kiddies get CyberBullied, adults get CyberStalked. And it’s common amongst adults – This particular cyberstalker has harassed others though I am the main recipient.

My Situation

This is not an easy post to write – many people that I respect noted what was going on but warned me I may be bullied further if I spoke out. So I sat on it, like many bullied people do, hoping that by blocking the bully, he’d go away. And like most bullying situations, it is getting worse. I’ve seen other people being bullied by Tim Burrowes and to my shame, I’ve ignored it, not wanting to come under more fire. Well, that has to stop and right now!

I’m not sure what to do – maybe you can help me? But I do know that once it’s out in the open, I can get on and forget about it. Agree with me, disagree, doesn’t matter, I’m not going to be scared to call a spade a spade again.

Anyway, I thought the ongoing hostility from Tim Burrowes of Mumbrella towards me might make a good example of how cyberbullying works online and why children – and women and anyone else who is consistently attacked by a cyberbully – need to recognise the signs and not be afraid to point them out to others. NOTE: for overseas readers, Tim Burrowes is a journalist, ex-editor of B&T magazine and others I guess and now a blogger. Or journogger – click here to see the difference.

The Diary of a CyberStalker

So, am I being cyberbullied? Mumbrella blog started in December 2008. FYI: My blog was still on then and had been since 2005, but moved to during January 2009. Things don’t start too bad – well ok, they do, but not as bad as they are going to get. THERE are 23 blog posts during one year – 23 attacks against me in 12 months. Drip drip drip. It is well worth clicking through on the links to read the comments – the early ones are typical of the frenemy (friend AND enemy) discussions that happen between bloggers and consultants. The later  ones are absolutely objectionable … Do not accept from a blogger or community host that they are not responsible for what the community do or write. How we as admins, moderators and bloggers handle ourselves, leads behaviour online. There is a reason we don’t put rocks through people’s windows in real life and it has to do with what constitutes acceptable behaviour, not policing. We can get away with many crimes: we choose not to. The reasons why have to do with community practice…

1. December 11th 2008 The Media vs Laurel Papworth Mumbrella bully

…. so-called digital evangelist Laurel Papworth really grates my cheese. And not in a good way.

One of his first blog posts on his new blog, nearly day one, and I didn’t have a clue who he was.

2. January 4th 2009 OPINION: Doctor Who announcement shows Twitter as great for networking, rubbish for news you can trust Mumbrella bully

There’s been some argy-bargy going on at Laurel Papworth’s blog about whether Twitter has overtaken established media as a news source. Argy-bargy which I’ve been joining in with, I should add.

Laurel’s argument (which I’ll make here deliberately badly for her) is that these days you don’t need the news because we all have such brilliant Twitter networks that we’ll all know someone on the plane that skids off the runway. Or at the very least, know somebody who knows somebody…

ok, so we are never going to agree on things, but a bit of “argy bargy” is fine…

3. January 8th 2009 Goodlinx – what Australia’s media and marketing bloggers are talking about today Mumbrella bully

“I could keep blogging the print media demise. Number of newspapers closing, journalists being laid off, statistics and reports, diminished trust, diminished revenue, Citizen Rupert speeches, but there are those who insist we’re making it up, to propagate some kind of blogger war. Why ‘massive drop in newspaper ad revenue’ equals ‘WTF OMG you bloggers hate mainstream media’ I don’t know.”

There is a theme developing that continues, of ONLY quoting those few times a year that I criticise heritage media.

4. January 20th 2009 Papworth loses, Acidlabs wins in battle of the Aussie marketing blogs Mumbrella bully

Papworth loses, Acidlabs wins in battle of the Aussie marketing blogs
One of Australia’s best known social media commentators has seen a dramatic decline in the popularity of her blog, according to a new ranking published today.

Laurel Papworth has dropped from number 4 to number 26 in just three months, according to The Marketing Pioneers list, run by Julian Cole, a digital strategist for Sydney-based agency The Population. The decline could be because she recently moved to a new blogging platform with a new url.

Papworth loses, Acidlabs wins in battle of the Aussie marketing blogs
Anyone who knows AdAge that the list was based on, knows that standings go up and down like a bride’s nightie depending on whether technorati is working etc. But that’s not the point is it? We are still in January – month two.

5. January 22nd 2009 Aussie digital media awards finalists revealed Mumbrella bully

Writes about the awards then links to one of the few incendiary posts on my blog. Note: Our cyberbully doesn’t link to me for my “good” posts, just the one’s that can incite others.

6. January 24th 2009 Seth and Zac and Laurel and Britney Mumbrella bully

So Laurel doesn’t like Seth, because Seth doesn’t allow comments on his blog, which she thinks is bad. So Seth tried to be nice, and sent Laurel a lovely message on her blog. But Laurel was mean to him, put her fingers in her ears, and told him she couldn’t hear him.

Then Zac stepped in. Now you can watch this…

I loved Zac’s video, very funny. My discussion of Seth Godin was asking the question “does turning off comments really still mean engagement”. Tim Burrowes is aggregating negative or “funny” content that could show me in a disparaging light – and definitely helping it along. Note, we are still in January here.

7. February 11th How new and old media has been getting it wrong with the bushfires Mumbrella bully

While using my writing to show a negative side to Twitter, generally respectful post and comments back and forth.

8. February 25th Problogger is Australia’s top blogger Mumbrella bully

The list differs in one major respect from the Australian Marketing Pioneers list compiled by Julian Cole of social media agency The Population. Poking fun at “the local BlogMafia” Papworth says in her posting: “There’s no arbitrary dropping our top online marketing blogger off the list (Darren Rowse) or me adding anything in the way of a SilkCharm point system.”

Inciting a crowd  is also cyber bullying – while debate in comments is healthy, when attacks come from the same blog time and again, as I’ll show you, it’s interesting to see the first seeds being planted in the community. If what I say looks bad in these posts, it might be worth your while to see the original, and how one sentence can look so very important when it’s just not.

9. March 6th TODAY’S TRADE PRESS: Australia’s top vblogger; Laurel vs Tony; Frank PR vs Australia; Yanni vs the razor Mumbrella bully

In the letters page, social media strategist Laurel Papworth disses Tony Thomas for arguing that social media should be part of a wider campaign mix, while setting up The Population, a social media agency

I didn’t diss Tony Thomas or the Population. I questioned a “social media only” agency recommending a “mixed marketing” strategy. The Population has gone. I’m here. Mumbrella is stirring again. 9 anti Laurel posts by March 6th (first 3 months of blogging).

10. March 12th  Video special – Papworth papped; Nissan redux; What radio presenters wear Mumbrella bully

When Mumbrella issued a challenge to the blogosphere to capture social media stormtrooper Laurel Papworth reading a newspaper, she took it more seriously than one might have anticipated:

I can’t remember where he issued his challenge – I thought it was on his blog but I can’t find it. Possibly on Twitter? I tried to defuse the sentiment he was whipping up with a light hearted video. Part of me -with hindsight-  feels guilty for participating, which is stupid, right?

11. March 29th 2009 Naked boss rubbishes Papworth Mumbrella bully

Naked boss rubbishes Papworth
Although Naked managing parter Adam Ferrier will bravely front up to the Twitterati at Social Media Club Sydney, it would seem that the agency – which brought the world the girl with the jacket video hoax – does not have a universal love for everyone in that particular community.
Fellow managing partner Mike Wilson has dissed social media stormtrooper Laurel Papworth who Twitters under the name Silkcharm. He Tweeted: “just blocked that annoying silkcharm rubbish. feel better”.

Is it really news if a guy from some agency with less than 100 followers, who I am not following, unfollows me? I remember telling my partner Gary Hayes to “just ignore it, they are bullies”. He didn’t.. and the comments get pretty bad, enabled by a Blogger/host that encourages hostility. It caused the next post on his blog “Should we allow anonymous comments” and this interview with Tim Burrowes on Jye’s blog

11. March 29th Should we allow anonymous commentsMumbrella bully

That’s not something everyone agrees with. After I said I was thinking about our comment policy, the academic Laurel Papworth put out a Twitter message over the weekend suggesting that Mumbrella should rethink its “snarky” tone.

I thought I was being helpful – again I “asked” for trouble I guess. Create a “shock jock” blog, get a “shock jock” community. This starts a phase where he continually refers to me as an “academic” – not a practicing social network strategist but someone in an ivory tower I guess. Note: I rarely get nasty anonymous comments and have 5 years blogging experience and thousands and thousands of comments on here.

12. April 21st Social Media Happy Families Mumbrella bully

Links to some stuff about me but picks on another woman. Thank goodness *feels guilty*

13 May 1st Australian blogs make the updated adage power list Mumbrella bully

Hi Laurel,

Thanks for your customarily warm comments.

A list of top blogs and discussion on Australia’s top blogs – fairly neutral. I clarified the name of my blog and that was the response. As a sole comment, it’s nothing, but drip, drip, drip… the community reads, understands and stores “expected behaviour” for next time.

14. May 20th The Australian’s War on Twitter (part 2) Mumbrella bully

Of course, it’s relatively easy for him to win the argument that Twitter won’t replace papers because no informed commentators that Dr Mumbo is aware of (with the possible exception of Laurel Papworth) have suggested that’s the case.

This looks OK, even flattering – a technique Tim Burrowes of Mumbrella continues to use to great effect later – and yet sets the tone for “WTF, she’s an idiot” responses in comments. Actually the exact comment is “Just to point out a mistake. You appear to be implying that Laurel Papworth is an informed commentator.” It’s pretty important to point out that cyberbullies are masters at getting others to do the dirty work, whether it’s retweeting a “joke” or LOL at a snide comment. The bully needs reinforcement from the crowd that they have managed to belittle the person that threatens them, they don’t need to get their hands dirty then.

15 . & 16.  June 1st and June 12th – two references to me using an Australian bloggers “top Australian blog list” which lists me lower down than on the global AdAge list. Mumbrella bully

Clearly being a “leader” in blogging is important, and attacking me in the last six months is part of that strategy

17. June 23rd CareerOne’s great purge Mumbrella bully

A quote from my blog and a thankyou from me. Positive article.

18. July 1st 2009, Hartigan story Mumbrella bully

Links to a “negative” article of mine on heritage media. I blog about twice a year on old, traditional media, and each time it comes under fire, is linked to etc. Odd that the hundreds of other posts, on positive stories, how to, education, events I’m speaking at etc never get mentioned.

Whew I get a break here

19. October Five to Follow Mumbrella bully

Social Network by Laurel Papworth

Read it: for the theory on social media

In roughly equal parts (okay, two-thirds – one-third) irritating and entertaining, Papworth’s blog is a must follow to hear from the extreme end of the social media universe. Her disdain for “heritage media” (and dancing on its grave) is clear, but she’s carved herself out a niche as a respected social media consultant, even if she’s not beating the brands-in-Second-Life drum quite so loud these days.

A recent example: The Freeview fiasco

In isolation, fine, an almost compliment, but wrong. In context and as blog post number 19 about me for the year, inaccurate and snarky and belittling (I have blogged about second life an average of 4x a year, and haven’t wavered from my stance on virtual worlds). Why Freeview Fiasco, a little nothing post? Why not many of the indepth featured posts like “how to run a forum” or “monetizing social media” or any other?  Because it shows me to be a “storm trooper” the nickname he has used again and again on his site and twitter. I don’t do “theory” I do practice. I deliberately corrected all the inaccuracies and came under attack from the commenters. The cycle of bullying.

20. October 21st Twins? Mumbrella bully

Social media twins?

Stilgherrian Papworth badgeWhile this is a handsome photo (taken at the Media 140 drinks in Sydney last night – click to see bigger) of Dr Mumbo’s favourite blogger Stilgherrian in its own right, there is one slightly curious thing about it.

Stil appears to be wearing the name badge of Dr Mumbo’s other favourite blogger, Laurel Papworth.

It’s all very confusing.

(A large tip of the hat to mab397 for the Twitpic)

On another blog, a bit of silliness. On Mumbrella blog, it degenerates quickly. “Favourite blogger” is used again, inciting negative comments – this comment said it all “I think the comment from @SocialStiffy shows what a trashy, cheapskate journal Mumbrella is becoming. Australia should be embarrassed allowing these kind of comments on one of it’s so called media/marketing news flagship sites. Leave personal attacks like that on your blog at your peril.” No I don’t know who  Anonymous was. What on earth is an ex-journalist, ex-editor doing, blogging stuff like people wearing my nametag at conferences? Bullying includes the use of “humour”, “sarcasm”  and ‘ridicule”.

21. November 6th 2009 Apparently editors nurture their journalists by telling them it’s okay to get stuff wrong Mumbrella bully

Apparently editors nurture their journalists by telling them it’s okay to get stuff wrong

Good to see that social media stormtrooper Laurel Papworth was doing her bit at the Media 140 conference in Sydney to improve the audience’s understanding of how newsrooms work.

“I do wonder if journalists are a little bit cossetted, by having an editor that has a loving, guiding hand over their work, saying to them ‘Never mind if you get something wrong’. Because as bloggers, I know that my audience is pretty tough on me.”

Well done, Laurel, that’s an uncanny reflection of the typical newspaper morning conference. Everyone knows how nurturing editors generally are, expecially of journos who make mistakes. Well researched, old bean.

Again the use of sarcasm and ridicule to belittle. It was one line in a piece that other journalists thought was important and published in it’s entirety. Captured by ABC TV,  I made one joke that was misrepresented here.

22. November 9th 2009 Laurel’s war on social media agencies Mumbrella bully

Laurel’s war on social media agencies

You may recall last week’s chatter about the Toyota Yaris social media live pitch.

It’s inspired this light-touch response from agency-loving blogger Laurel Papworth.

Dr Mumbo’s not sure he can remember Toyota “flaming any negative blogger attacking our official campaigns”.

Again one line out of context – satire is open to misrepresentation I am learning. Inciting comments, Mumbrella’s readers now respond predictably, like well trained performing animals. I’m not being inflammatory – it’s obvious, clickthrough and read the comments to see how they now perform for the puppet master. Classic bullying tactic – empower an audience to co-bully with you.

23. November 9th Savaging the bearcubs of Media 140 Mumbrella bully

Links to me. Comments deteriorate into whether I deserve expert status. Nothing too heavy – I expect some argy bargy but again, it’s Mumbrella blog that provides the platform, opportunity, encouragement, for others to take pot shots. Classic cyberbullying support.

And that is a year in the life of a cyberstalker. Did you learn anything? Can you see how passive aggressive, “humour” is used to enable/empower others to co-bully”

But it doesn’t end there:

24. March 9th 2010  Anti social media (part 1067) Silkcharm vs Warlach Mumbrella bully

Anti social media (part 1067) Silkcharm vs Warlach

Here’s an every day tale of social media snarkiness featuring Dr Mumbo’s favourite self-described (and randomly capitalised) “Online Communities Strategist, Goddess of the Social Media workshop”…

This Twitpoll created by @Warlach after a bruising encounter with@silkcharm, aka Larel Papworth, probably tells the story best:

Anti social media (part 1067) Silkcharm vs Warlach Warlach poll 285x350

Background: someone I don’t know and am not following walks into the Twitter room and insults me. I thought he was new (excusable) or a troll (likely). I tweeted suggesting that he simply unfollow me. This was considered “rude”.  I then quietly blocked him and someone else for not being worth the effort of dealing with their aggression. This was considered antisocial.
Take a silly situation, make a story out of it. Out of 21,000 followers, 7 get blocked by  me (which I usually do privately, not publicly). One of the Mumbrella’s readers that I have blocked creates a “funny” poll, and it becomes a storm in a Tweet cup.  This post makes no attempt to quote my polite requests to the blocked people or tell the full story. I can’t comment because I blocked Mumbrella on Twitter in August and he in turn won’t publish my comments. Divide and conquer tactics. I loved the first comment ” With respect, I think this is a great site – but what has this got to do with anything? Two people get into an altercation on the ‘net isn’t exactly unheard of.” and Tim Burrowes attempts to pass it off as “humour”. Which he then betrays his true feelings in a post the same day:

25. March 10th What sex on the beach has in common with foolish tweeting Mumbrella bully

What sex on the beach has in common with foolish tweeting

Even yesterday, several people forwarded me links to a Twitter row between social media guru Laurel Papworth and a couple of tweeters who had criticised her. Mud flew both ways – in truth none of the parties covered themselves in glory. It was mildly amusing, mainly because of the funny Twitpoll one of them created, so I eventually wrote a short diary piece.

However, Papworth (with a Twitter following of 20,000) was outraged that some form of rules had been breached. By writing the story I was, she claimed in a tweet, a cyber bully who had picked on her because she was a woman. (For the record Laurel, your wisdom makes it onto Mumbrella purely on its own merits.)

I think we’ve seen the “merits”- my cyber bullying tweet was because of the continual posting ridiculing me and my activities, rather than a one off post about a “funny” poll. I suspect my tweet means I “deserved” his long rambling post (clickthrough to read it all). The smallest criticism cannot be allowed to go unbullied…

You see, there are plenty of times where I spot a tweet, or more often have one pointed out to me by someone else, and decide it’s nearly, but not quite, worth a story.The Papworth one is a classic example. When she was just being mean to a couple of tweeters, people pointed it out, but it wasn’t worth covering, until the poll got published.

Again, I didn’t actually say anything to anyone. Or nothing impolite. I wasn’t mean. And passing the bullying spotlight to someone else doesn’t absolve you from responsibility, it actually does the opposite.

26. April 9th 2010 Social media guru: If you challenge my postings then you just don’t understand (you smug prick) Mumbrella bully

Social media guru: If you challenge my postings then you just don’t understand (you smug prick)

Dr Mumbo posts this morning’s Twitter exchange between self-proclaimed “Online Communities Strategist, Goddess of the Social Media workshop” Laurel Papworth and Sound Alliance’s Ben Shepherd without further comment:

The first link came a few days ago from Papworth, aka @silkcharm:

“Fanpages: List of top 100+ Australian Facebook Fan Pages”

Today Shepherd posted:

“so laurel papworth deletes blog comments that question what she says around the ‘top 100 facebook fan pages’ … that’s rather antisocial”

Silkcharm: “@Shepherd I haven’t deleted any comments. And if you use @SilkCharm I can find tweets easier:)

Shepherd: “@SilkCharm your list is innaccurate … tim (Hardaker)posted a comment on the blog … it’s now gone. why do a list if it’s not correct? pointless.”

and so on and so forth until we get to

Silkcharm: “@Shepherd you really are an smug prick as your profile suggests. Works well for your clients does it? Antagonising everyone I mean…:P

Shepherd: “@SilkCharm heh ’smug prick’. question remains why do a top 100 when it’s just a random assortment of pages and not accurate?”

the thing is Ben really DOES have “smug prick” in his profile description.

I feel a bit guilty, we kind of set Mumbrella the Bully up – in fact I tweeted in the middle of the “argument” We always argybargy like this and we have to give Mumbles something to get hot and wet over 🙂 I guess it worked. Cyberbullies are predictable – they go for the obvious error, the simple situation that can be spun into a story. That makes them vulnerable to setups. It’s tempting to say that Tim Burrowes doesn’t understand Twitter or the nature of social spaces -discussions are more like at the footy than a boardroom – but that would be simply to try and find an excuse for him knowingly bullying me. Its somehow more palatable if it’s accidental, not deliberate.

ADDED 27. Digital Citizens Blog Laurel Papworth Mumbrella and Me Mumbrella bully

The attack came in waves. She tweeted and retweeted her post to her 20,000+ Twitter followers. She @messaged bloggers with bigger followings than her own, presumably in the hope that they would reply and take it to a wider audience. Others told me that she had privately messaged them and asked them to retweet it. She’d emailed the link to a selection of industry people. She urged advertisers to not support our site.

Mumbrella’s response –  full of lies and inaccuracies. And attacks on my partner, Gary Hayes. As expected.
FYI I’ve got better things to do with my time than DM people asking them to retweet one of my blog posts, or emailing ppl to tell them not to advertise with him. BTW who else has had 27 posts by Mumbrella in just over a year? Do you know who else gets such attention? Is it related to their work or inanities? Anyway in general he’s delighted at the extra attention and extra followers

Original caption:Rebekah Horne MySpace and Tim Burrowes Mumbrella


mumbrella edit foto and tagline: “it’s Tim “Mumbles” Burrowes of Mumbrella. Heh.”

Mumbrella edit of photo and tagline: “it’s Tim “Mumbles” Burrowes of Mumbrella. Heh.”

Classic Burrowes taking out of context innocent jokes, behaviour and manipulating it for maximum damage. Leading of course to the first comment: ironic that if anyone was doing the cyberstalking it was her. Secret photos is a pretty bad look if you’re accusign someone else of stalking. Like I said, classic.

Fast forward a couple of years:

Added: #28 June 19th 2013 Mumbrella bully

I hired a room at UNSW CBD campus and ran a 3 Day class for social media consultants (very popular booked out months in advance). One of the exercises was to write a Tweet with me, which the class laughed at AND GAVE ME PERMISSION TO TWEET:

Usually I have a smiley face but I think I ran out of characters. My followers – who see me tweet this or similar most weeks, in most classes – responded with helpful advice except for one known troll and one journogger wannabe social media expert. And of course Mumbrella’s response was this: Hey Dummies want to learn social media?

So these social media gurus? Sorry, social media “goddesses”… When they teach classes, are they required to respect their students?


Dr Mumbo is curious whether the University of Sydney her university in Sydney has any sort of social media code of conduct for how tutors talk about students in public fora. If not, perhaps they know a social media guru who could help them write one…

It’s worth noting that Mumbrella has started some kind of social media academy with social media courses and that his competitor (my classes at USYD) workshops are very well respected and attended (booked out 2 or 3 classes in advance). If he could cause problems between me and the Uni’s I teach at/hire rooms from/provide services to, he would be able to diminish the standing of these courses and promote his own.

Summary: I expect to be able to add more of these types of articles from Mumbrella about me to this post. Bullying doesn’t stop because once a year the victim (hate that word!) takes a swing back. But at least we have a public record now that shows an obvious pattern.
And added later

Added: #29 July 7th 2014 Mumbrella Bully #EatPrayTweet

Keeping this tally uptodate: I am running a workshop #EatPrayTweet Bali for 12 people. It’s around $900 a day for 6 days:  $4000+ each twin share or $5,500 for single (whole apartment) – I expect the Earlybirds to go soon. The full rate is more expensive but there won’t be any tickets left once it gets to the regular $7500 rate.  Dr Mumbles wrote:

Eat Pray Tweet
Does your dream holiday consist of going to Bali with a dozen social media types, doing yoga with them, eating organic food with them and tweeting with them? For a week?
Then look no further. For just $7,500 (excluding flights), this holiday could be yours.

Sometimes Dr Mumbo feels he should stress when a particular product he mentions is not a joke.

This is not a joke.

I don’t care what Tim Burrowes from Mumbrella thinks (he is a competitor not my target market) : it’s probably relevant to note that you can either join 12 people in Bali for an intensive workshop at $900 a day including accom. meals and trips to temples etc or go to #Mumbrella360 for $900 a day without accom. meals and trips. In Sydney. 

900 a day mumbrella 360

Pay $900 a day for agencies to promote to you!

Funny I don’t even think about competitors and what their doing, unless I’m cheering them on. But when you go looking you find this – how NOT to do a conference?

Competitors that slag off : trashtweeting and trollmarketing against me just convince me I’m on the right path. Perhaps cyberbullying should have a different name if he’s doing it against a competitor? NOTE: I really havent noticed Tim doing this against men. Well, only one story about a guy, the rest ( a dozen or so) are Tim Burrowes attacking women. Blech.

Final Showdown

So what do you think? Are my 12 points of cyberbullying being played out here by Tim Burrowes of Mumbrella? Or do I have a humour gene missing, should grow a thick skin, I’m imagining things?  26 posts in 15 months, with what ? 2? or 3? of them neutral or positive. The other 23 posts critical, sarcastic, inciting others, negative, hostile and damaging.

It’s tempting for me to find excuses – Tim doesn’t mean it, he just has a snarky voice, maybe I upset him? And I go through my memory and try to think of all the times I dissed him – I forgot he chaired a panel I was on, I mentioned that snarky tones get snarky comments, I (after a year) tweeted that I though I might be being bullied, I (today) tricked him into blogging a not very serious argument as if it was… though he might well have known he was being tricked but it still allowed him to show me up for being unprofessional rude and disrespectful.

So maybe this is about career and competitive behaviour? I am respected, I teach at Uni. I run workshops for Government (here and overseas) and corporates and not for profits. I appear on TV and Radio and other traditional media channels- who I am supposed to hate. I present my knowledge of online communities at conferences.  But I’m not a journalist, I am not a professional blogger  meaning my livelihood is not from writing a blog, I don’t have advertising, I don’t make a living from any of the things that Tim Burrowes does, unless he is magically going to claim to be an experienced teacher or experienced online communities strategist. I suspect it’s dangerous to second guess a bully. It’s part of the co-dependency that can occur. I thought twice, thrice before writing this blog – am I cocreating the situation now?

Read this woman’s story – this is a really horrible cyberstalking story – and then consider this: is the only “valid” cyberstalking one that is that dreadful? or are there “lesser” (is that the right term?) forms of cyber bullying.

I’m not sure how to end this post. Except to say this. I’m not changing anything. I’m going back to blogging, and being confident and saying what I think needs to be said. I’m no longer going to be affected by a blogger with a mysterious axe to grind, or a coterie of followers/co-bullies.

What about you? Is the internet full of those who attack? Or do we only remember the one who consistently drills down on us? Do the good people outweigh the occasional asshat?

I thank God for one thing – journalists have been able to bully “personalities” and people in the past with no recourse. Today, we can speak back. I’m not saying every journalist is like Tim Burrowes of Mumbrella, but I still love the fact I can call him out on my blog. Hard to do? Yes. But … well, let the discussions begin!

Please retweet it:  Cyberbullying and blogs – a case study Mumbrella But if you choose not to, I understand. Point 8 above – divide and conquer – may mean YOU are on the receiving end of bullying from Tim as well. And I seriously wouldn’t want that.