Cyberbullying and blogs – a case study Mumbrella -social media

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?

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.

Similar Posts


  1. Ummm, what a crazy story

    I like both blogs at the centre of this saga. So, I am def not going to take sides completely.

    I think there is an element of misunderstanding caused by the written word here. Perhaps at a pub, after we had all had a few after a long day at a conference, if some of the exchanges that are reported happened we all might just be laughing

    One of us may have told both of you to take a chill pill, AKA it’s your shout.

    Of course, it is cool of you disagree with me. I might well be wrong.

    I sort of respect both of you for sticking up for your patch, or perhaps better said, your opinions on marketing mix / social / traditional. I think it is the ‘dharma’ for both of you to be defiant. And, as can be the case, you are both right. I truly believe that.

    So, yes, on balance I am not sure if it is as bad a cyberbully thing as you are saying but I also understand why you feel it. So, yes maybe you could have a slightly thicker skin and the Mumbrella chap might just tone down a little

    Personally, the worse thing would be for the debate to end, you are both top people in your trades and both of these are of interest to me.

    PUSH Agency
    Brisbane | Canberra | Sydney | Australia

    1. Thanks you for taking the time and thoughtfulness to write such an honest comment. I too – when I used to venture onto Mumbrella – have a snigger at some company mucking up big time. I guess now I question whether there is also misinformation there.
      What would you do, Jimi? I’m not in a position to “take a chill pill” because my response to the bullying until today has been silence, Even when others have been co-opted, I still maintained silence. If you know how to encourage Tim Burrowes to take that “chill pill” I’d buy the glass of water. :p

      Do you think Tim Burrowes of Mumbrella is out to destroy my reputation? Teasing I understand, i give as good as I get but this is not teasing. Reasoned criticism is fine – but there is no critique of my work in those 26 posts in the last year, just 1 allusion to being “antisocial” to trolls. But has he damaged me non the less?

      But yeah, a lot of people will agree with you. And that’s cool. :p

      1. My pleasure Laurel. My interest is both about the human side of the matter, it is after all pretty sad situation, and also intellectual, in that it is an interesting ‘case study’ on the new dynamic.

        On the first, that is where my hestitant tone in born. Your question of what I would do is a good one. I do not know. I think I might be mad. I might be off to my lawyer. I would probably end up just rolling up my sleeves and fighting back.

        I know that I would see in Tim a bit of me so I would have a natural brake on my upsetness. I can be a “bully” in the intellectual sense at times. It is one thing I am aware of and I try to temper this part of me. Mostly I have worked on practicing the ball not the man style of engagement. I do wonder if both you and Tim might need to ponder this.

        But again, everything I just said is very hesitant. You see, I do know that one always should understand that just because I might think any offence taken is not justified (and I am not suggesting this for this matter) doesn’t give me the right to dismiss offence taken. So, I am really hesitant to be seen to downplay your clearly displayed offence taken, indeed your sense of being bullied.

        On the intellectual side, that is a different story. I have a lot more confidence in my thinking.

        After seeing your post I have had a good walk through the history of the interaction between you and Tim, as revealed in the many blogs, comments, etc.

        I think, leaving aside any of the personal stuff, a very interesting debate.

        My take on where you are both coming from is (and either are welcome to correct me) is that you are very passionate about Social. You are very down on traditional media – which I think you do tend to downplay a bit now and Tim does tend to overstate.

        Neither is a real problem. Gosh we are not talking about world peace or ending hunger here.

        As I have said, I have room for both of your takes on this. Our current times are so dynamic that I am not prepared to have strong opinions on where it is all going. Maybe we will see the end of traditional. maybe we will not.

        I am just hoping that you can both see the interestingness of the central debate issues and get past any preconceptions of what sort of person the other is. I would just like to see the debate continue on the main issues.

        Jimi Bostock
        PUSH Agency
        Brisbane | Canberra | Sydney | Australia

  2. I’ve only ever bothered to read Mumbrella twice, and both times it has been because of some kind of “personal scandal”. Therefore in my limited experience, (Mumbrella) strike me as being tabloidy – trading in gossip and controversy to derive benefit, and in a way I feel you’ve be suckered into it – your blog is now an SEO goldmine for them.

    I’m not sure that a virtual public mudslinging match is the right thing to do in this case. It may just pay to have coffee with him next time you’re both in the same city or something. If he’s a gentleman, he’ll buy 🙂

  3. Hi Laurel,
    I read your above comments with an element of surprise.

    I should make three key points:

    First, the reader of the above might see this as one-way traffic. Those who spend five minutes with Google will see that’s not the case.

    You give it out too. To suggest this is bullying is disingenuous and unfair.

    Second, this isn’t personal (I don’t know you).

    It so happens that I disagree with your professional stance on some things.

    When you choose to put those views into the public domain, it’s legitimate for people to agree, disagree or comment as they see fit.

    As you will be aware you have plenty of influence and audience yourself.

    I wonder if this is not so much bullying as a massive sense of humour failure?

    Mumbrella spends much of every day writing about social media. It’s not unrealistic to expect that over the last 15 months for us to write about one of the most polarising figures – and someone who seeks an audience – on a regular basis.

    Third, it’s okay to have different points of view. There are many people who I disagree with who I consider to be friends.

    So while I’m not going to stop calling you out when I disagree with you, I can assure you, it’s not about who you are, it’s about what you say.

    Apologies for any typos, as this is written on a handset.


    Tim – mumbrella

    1. Tim, to answer your 3 points
      1. I follow my rules of conduct – attack the ideal not the person. Rules of Engagement I certainly have never posted dozens of times attacking/ridiculing a single person. I have never attacked you – search Mumbrella on my blog. This is about cyberbullying not debate, so don’t misrepresent it as such.
      2. Your point (It’s not personal because we don’t know each other) is disingenuous. Because it is Professional – most of the attacks come straight after either a media engagement or a major speaking engagement or some other time I enter the spotlight. If you addressed the issues I am addressing and disagree with me, this post would not be here. But by taking a professional competitive view and making it a personal attack it BECOMES personal.
      3. You post 24 to 26 times a year about me, that’s an average of once a fortnight. They are NOT about what I have to say, for instance insightful criticism, but for the most part out of context one line comments with a negative spin. I am aware that linkbaiting me brings many comments to your site – in some instances 50 or 60 personal attacks on me on one blog post. I realise that helps build your coterie of followers but when it’s at my expense, continually, that IS influence that comes from bullying.

      I have no problem with trolls. Or personal attacks from random strangers. Or violent disagreements over “right” strategies. I block a handful of trolls, ignore the rest. But when a professional blogger/journalist continually repetitively hassles me for meaningless crap that I cannot actually respond to (someone wore my nametag? I made a joke?) in order to ridicule my reputation, I let it go for over a year. And then I speak up.

      Keep going with the snarky spin blog – be the Jonesy or the Lawsy of the Australian blogosphere – but recognise that if you ever EVER do such repetitive attacks on another individual again, I WILL CALL YOU ON IT.
      Laurel @SilkCharm

      1. Laurel,

        You said above:

        “I have never attacked you – search Mumbrella on my blog.”

        It took ten minutes of surfing the net to find these comments you posted on various other sites over the last few months:

        From January 2009:

        “hahaha there’s a discussion on Mumbles blog that he is SUCH a journo crossdressing as a blogger.”

        (Are you sure you weren’t the one who started this?)

        Or last April, when you seem to be accusing him (with a pretty mad sounding conspiracy theory) of taking hidden payments from the Hilton to write stories about them:

        “Beneficiary is probably Mumbles… probably sold it to Mark/Hilton as a concept, got his agency mates who need to show social media savvy in, and invited film crews. Then blogged, trashing it, in ‘other people’s words’ – typical negative spin, find someone else who is saying something that will stir up an audience. Win win win except of course, it’s agencies preaching to agencies again. LOL”

        Then there’s this one from about a year ago:

        “Mumbles copy and pastes press releases and tacks on a negative comment or puts a negative spin. If he’s really pissy, he takes a tweet to 30 people, out of context and spins it into ‘anti -news’. This can be amusing, outraging, provoking, engaging, and I’m not suggesting that there is no place for such a blog, but that we need to recognise it for what it is – no surprises, there is a long history of linkbaiting in media.”

        There are probably lots more. These were just the ones that came up on the front page using the phrases “Laurel Papworth”, “Tim Burrowes” and “Mumbles”. And by the way, what’s that nickname if not passive aggressive?

    2. Tim, I think Lauren has posted more than enough evidence to suggest that even if she does fight back on occasion, your attacks are far more personal and frequent. Once a fortnight, really? You’re obsessional. Has she ever called you a stormtrooper? The whole thing is rather petty, and makes you look like a small man. There is no humour in your pieces, only small-minded sniping. You’re acting like an undergraduate on a university newspaper. Grow up.

      1. Hi Paul,

        In the last 15 months, Mumbrella has written more than 3,500 posts (I’ve just looked in our back end). Laurel has cited every time we’ve even obliquely referenced her along with many other people in a much longer piece. In total, she’s the primary focus of about a third of the examples she mentions above.


        Tim – Mumbrella

        1. It doesn’t matter who the primary focus is, Tim. You’re continually picking on Lauren like you’re a kid in a schoolyard. It is unbecoming of you. A bit of maturity in this situation would go a long way. You are showing none so far.

          1. The primary focus matters, Paul. If I write an essay on Nietzsche and I reference Hegel that doesn’t mean Hegel is the topic of my essay. Have a good read of the comments and tell me whether you think you’re being fair and balanced. You’re doing an excellent job of belittling Tim and letting your own (im)maturity shine like a beacon.

            Another thing that needs to be addressed, ’23 posts in 12 months’ does not equal a post a fortnight. Allow me to explain. For example, there’s a conference where X makes a presentation, or X writes about a current issue. The frequency of references to X will be highest in the immediate time after publication. If X publishes nothing relevant to Y, then Y won’t reference X.

            I’ll break my point down: (According to the dates listed)
            Dec 11 – Jan 8 (2 references over 3 weeks)

            Jan 4, 8, 20, 22, 24 (5 references within 3 weeks) – posts that relate to Acidlabs and Digital Media Awards

            Two references on March 29 and nothing til April 21 (2 references over 3 weeks)

            To be clear about my point, using statistics such as ’23 posts in 12 months’ is incredibly misleading. So misleading that two posts a fortnight has become a cornerstone in the case against Mumbrella. It implies something the data just does not illustrate, frequency.

            This is more than sufficient to prove how fundamentally wrong the use of this statistic has been.

            Fortnight implies frequency > frequency implies bullying >
            said frequency is an illusion manufactured by a statistical average…

            Therefore, this ’23 posts in 12 months’ becoming ‘a post a fortnight’ is a false and misleading moot point.

  4. Laurel papworth live by the sword die by the sword. I’ve written a few times about cyber bullying and you are one of the people I consider to often use cyber bullying techniques.

    Tim, and mumbrella can be painful too – but then we all can.

    It’s what we don’t like in ourselves that we don’t like in others.

    Having said that I’m really glad you wrote this heart-felt post, it’s excellent, and perhaps encourages everyone (yourself included) to be a little nicer on the net. And model appropriate behaviour to children – where cyber bullying is out of control (and we’re all kids at heart).

    1. great stuff and with wisdom for all of us.

      Yes, I hear that it is a jungle out there in kidland. That makes me sad. I too know how easy it is to become a bit of a bully in the written word.

      May I suggest a public forum where Laurel and Tim, with a moderator, are squared off on the central topic that drives much of the friction between them. SOmething like “Traditional media is dead” or something more nuanced to capture Lauren’s thinking

      We, the crowd, will be able to zap them with low vault shock when we see personal attacks. (OK, only joking). Maybe we just have the worm set up and we can vote as they go.

      Then we all go and have a beverage of choice and I end up sprouting far more nonsense than either of the main protaganists have 🙂

      I will join in the hippy vibe (after all, let’s admit it, we all sort of come from that tradition) and say peace to ya all 🙂

      Jimi Bostock
      PUSH Agency
      Brisbane | Canberra | Sydney | Australia

    2. So let’s be clear. The final straw, as far as you’re concerned, was when you publicly accused someone on Twitter (where you have more than 20,000 followers) of being a smug prick. When this was written about, you were the one being bullied?

    3. It’s not cyber bullying, by the way. It’s being violently disagreed with. You might not like that, but it’s very different.

      As for “cyber stalking”, if I were Tim, I’d be calling a libel lawyer. They’d probably take the case on a no win, no fee basis, it’s so clearly libelous.

      You do anyone who’s been genuinely bullied a massive disservice.

  5. Having been the victim of a cyberstalker / cyberbully the one lesson I learned, and it would seem you are learning too, is that sitting quietly and being “the better person” doesn’t seem to resolve anything.

    I bet when you wrote this you had the same fears I did when calling out my bully, that I would be seen as a hysterical woman, blowing what could be construed to be innocuous internet discourse, into a full blown cyclone in a beverage receptacle. Thing is, in the end, it is you as an individual that is feeling attacked and if private contact/ ignoring/requests have not changed the situation, then making it public does bring things to a head.

    Fighting on the internet is probably the most immature thing we do as adults, but some behaviour goes beyond the occasional professional spat. I do hope this will clear the air for you and that Mumbrella will see they have been focusing a little too often on you, and probably needs to add more diversity to their reporting (more than one person has mentioned “tabloid”).

    Good for you Laurel for not accepting the unacceptable. Bugger anyone who thinks you don’t have the right to get pissed off.

    1. The last point is very important Tim. I know that I have often been suprised when someone feels bullied by my over the top debating style (and this is in person so I can not blame the written word).

      I have come to understand that I must accept if someone is offended, even if I can not see why. Indeed, I now get a pathalogical desire to correct the record.

      I think Tim should write a really good post on what he thinks about Laurel’s philosophy, a philisophy that it is pretty obvious.

      Then Laurel and all of us can pile in and debate.

      WHo votes for that or the public debate?

      Jimi Bostock
      PUSH Agency
      Brisbane | Canberra | Sydney | Australia

  6. Laurel – it’s your condesending ( I know more than everyone else) tone that opens you up to people not liking you. You may be a self titled expert but if you said what you say the way you say it face to face to people, you’d probably get punched!

  7. How is this not not just the usual state of media/politics? Most of your 12 points could apply to any media publication, and the way in which articles and writers manifest opinions and responses. It’s called the modern world. I completely disagree with the assertion that this is cyber-bullying, and I think that those who have actually been bullied online (ie: threatened outside a competitive, professional media context) would be quite offended by what you have to say here.

    You put yourself out in a cut-throat industry as an authority on something which many people are passionate about. You MUST expect a certainly level of (sometimes nasty) rivalry.

    A heat/kitchen analogy comes to mind…

    Finally, how is this expansive article not conforming to most of your 12 attributes? I’m tempted to claim that you demonstrate all of them. You finger-point, you build an army, you cast others in a negative light, you attempt to make yourself look better by belittling others… you spread misinformation, you incite others against perceived “bullies” who are against you… All I can see in the examples given are people with differing opinions, people who don’t want you to speak for them, people who are engaging with someone who has the power to be heard on whatever point they chose.

    The point is, you clearly think your opinion is so valid and so worth airing that it is irrelevant whether you articulate the point well, or whether anyone else really wants to read a diatribe about the perceived wrongs perpetrated against you. It is this attitude which has brought criticism (not bullying) upon you, and were you to focus more actively on the nuances of your social-media craft you might find the situation improves dramatically.

    1. Of course, since I’m not one of these uber-cool net-celeb types, no one would be interested in commenting on what I have to say.

      Elitist, much?

      1. awww ok. I’ll play 😛

        Cyberbullying is consistent behaviour – 24 posts attacking one person over 12 months. I’ve never done that. I’m ok with yelling and throwing things every once in a while but not every couple of weeks from the same person. Call me a bitch – but not a bully. There’s a difference. And telling someone they deserved to be bullied because they occasionally say something mean and ‘orrible to people is like telling a woman she deserves to be raped because she occasionally misbehaves when out on the town. Not allowed.

        The others kiddies might talk to you if you post under your real name. That’s a bit dangerous though 🙂

        1. “Call me a bitch – but not a bully.”

          Seriously, and that distinction couldn’t be applied to Mumbrella? There are plenty of equally snide remarks thrown around, it feels like double standards to me.

          You write about cyber-bullying like you’re an authority on it. That’s easy enough to do when you give your own definition and tailor your post accordingly. As several people have legitimately pointed out, you don’t fit into your own definition that comfortably either.

          Here’s what you can’t say about Mumbrella (according to your list):
          2. 24 posts in 12 months according to you and I don’t think a single one of those posts had you as the main subject. You weren’t made the whole story, you were quoted a sentence at a time.
          3. Everyone’s passive-aggressive. Your replies are, my reply is and it’ll be that way ad finitum. We’re passive-aggressive to our friends, family, children, pets, our broken phones. All the time.
          9. He certainly wouldn’t ‘aid and abet’ others for the sole purpose of distressing you.
          10. If some people are calling him a small man riding on your success, where is that ‘all-corrupting power’ coming from?
          12. Stalking. You really need to reconsider this one. What you’re trying to get us to believe is that Tim gets out of bed and his first thought is where you’ll be having breakfast. He grabs his binoculars and GPS and trails you all day, or in the virtual space he’s following your every entry and tweet. No matter how you define stalker he’s not engaging in those activities and it certainly isn’t wise to put that on your list. It looks like you’re associating him with being a stalker, that’s defamation isn’t it?

          I’d be making a fair assumption that Mumbrella has enough in his week to keep him occupied and you’re likely to not be in his thoughts for the vast majority of the time he spends awake.

          Obviously I understand where you’re coming from, you feel you’re the victim. I’m just saying you really need to think about what you’re accusing someone of and whether you can back it up. Having read your post and the comments I’m not inclined to agree with you. I think your examples are more reflective of your psyche than they are of Mumbrella’s perceived ‘bullying.’

          1. I added #13 evoke a response – if the target does respond negatively such as leave a anti Mumbrella comment on a news site after 6 anti-Laurel posts in 4 weeks, then that becomes more “reason” why to keep on bullying.

            PS Bullying can be about damaging personal reputation, and setting up a group of people to do the spying and email through stuff to him. How does one set up this group? Blog long and often atttacking someone and they grow to know what you want to know.

            EVERYONE – who else has received a large number of posts/references on Mumbrella’s blog? And how many? 10 ? 12? 18? 20? 26? I’m interested to see if it’s just me or there are other targets. I’ve found a few with 3 or 4 jibes but nothing sustained. drip drip drip.

          2. It never said it was a reason to continue, you’re extrapolating what isn’t there. The meaning behind it is the interaction is not one way. That doesn’t mean I’m condoning anything either of you say or do, but I also don’t have a problem with it.

            I honestly think you’re doing more harm to your reputation now than Mumbrella would had he tried.

            I don’t mean to set you off but I know I am.

        2. Have the responses to this article made you reflect on your own behaviour? Just a little bit? I really hope so.

  8. I’d call it harassment: “stormtrooper,” “BlogMafia,” “so-called evangelist” — the resentful ranting of a struggling opportunist whose motto must be ‘the dingo ate my conscience.’

    I value your tweets and research postings as information on the new media affecting my life. Call it new media, social networking, professional networking, whatever — it’s making its way into every organization, every department, every job. Thanks be to those helping us navigate the changes.

    Bob C. | Other side of the world

  9. Remember that time you suggested Burrowes at Beachmeet was really him doing the dodgy at the Hilton?

  10. This is all getting far too complicated. Please allow me to sort things out for both parties concerned.

    Laurel: just tell Tim to fuck off and stop being such a wanker.
    Tim: Fuck off, and stop being such a wanker.

    Hope this helps.

    Best regards, Andrew

  11. Laurel, I think that you are giving him oxygen. He doesn’t have a lot to say if he’s not having a go at you.

  12. Laurel

    Something I have learned over the last 6 or 7 years is “they only attack the man [girl] with the ball.”

    The difference with you and me is that at least you can identify your bully… those who have attacked me are usually faceless, usually attack those who support me, and never ever actually want to acknowldge the truth of a situation [my legal action was a test case of a new law..]

    You and I have had a number of discussions and you have always been supportive but I might add have also supported those who you know who set out to belittle and bully “poor old Wayne Mansfield” [that guy in Canberra shall remain nameless… or maybe not] with things light libellous twitter accounts and blogs, false entries to Wikipedia and other bully action…

    So I say Laurel, I think you have drawn these attacks BECAUSE you are successful and your bully – Tim Burrows – mumbrella – needs you to continue to be successful or nobody would give a toss about what he writes.

    The action against me has gone to smashed windows, death threats, midnight visits, cars vandalised in front yards and worse… because I stood up for what I believed. So, Laurel, continue to make a difference, be remarkable, as Seth Godin suggests when people find what you are saying needs remaking on, and I for one will still champion your cause.

    However I can imagine that being associated with me wouldn’t do your cause any good either.

    Love your work [and if it wasn’t for that Gary bloke] and would probably love you too..


  13. I don’t know either of you but i’ve commented to colleagues many times that it seems to me you are being repeatedly bullied by this fella laurel.

  14. I have only been reading your posts and articles for a few months. I really value your knowledge, insight and comments. I have not taken your words to be hectoring or condescending.

    After reading the post, I believe that the other person has hitched himself to you because you are successful and by making a noise about you he will be able to ride on your coats tails. Unfortunately there will always be people who are unable to follow the accepted behaviours of society. Some who use social media are hoping that the rules that define our society do not apply in the virtual world.

  15. I think u sound like an arrogant $%#%…. MAYBE, just MAYBE, there is a reason everyone is picking on you… think about it. Now stop blogging and do some work!

  16. Laurel, the framing of your post makes it difficult for anyone to disagree without being labelled a bully for seeming to defend an alleged bully. Congratulations on posting all of the comments, though, even harsh ones. This must be an emotionally challenging discussion.

    However I do feel that you’d have to work pretty hard to see some of the numbered examples even as “anti-Laurel posts”, let alone evidence of bullying.

    Item 1, “Laurel Papworth really grates my cheese”, is pretty tame, especially since Tim Burrowes goes on to explain himself by referring to specific statements and assertions you’ve made which grate with him.

    Item 2 is, again, simply Tim disagreeing with a position you hold and providing an example. You clarify your interpretation in a comment, and Tim wishes you well with your WordPress migration.

    Item 7 has nothing negative at all.

    Yet you count all three of these towards your running total of “9 anti Laurel posts”.

    Item 11 looks to me like a perfectly neutral follow-up story to your tweet about anonymous blog comments. Your own comment on this post looks defensive. I’d see “rethink” and “consider changing” as synonyms. I think your correction looks like nit-picking. YMMV.

    I can’t help but think that you do tend to focus, even hyper-focus, on anything which might be perceived as a negative comment about your views or projects with which you’re associated. You do tend to be blind to your own sarcastic or patronising comments.

    As an example, I was surprised by your persistence in defending last week’s Connect Now conference, at which you were a speaker, when it wasn’t being attacked. Someone asked me if I were going, I said no because it’s a marketing conference and I’m not particularly interested in marketing. (I also hadn’t even heard of the conference until that day.) But it seemed like you weren’t happy to just let me be not interested. You had to justify the conference as having “lots for not for profits” and being “more about communication than marketing” and to eventually lecture me that “marketing is responsible for product pricing & positioning” — which someone else noted as “@silkcharm looks to be giving marketing lessons to @stilgherrian 😉 homeschooling anyone??”

    It was patronising and, while it may not have been your intent and on the scale of things it was minor, it was irritating. It felt like I was being nagged into having to defend not being interested in a conference! And while it wasn’t worth complaining about at the time, I mention it now as an example of the low-level “I know best” irritation which does grate. Maybe you don’t realise.

    Other commenters have already quoted the harsh comments you’ve made about Tim Burrowes, so I won’t repeat. But Tim hasn’t been the only target.

    I think you completely misrepresent the incident of 9 March 2010 (not numbered in your list) when someone blocked you on Twitter with an insulting comment. I saw that unfold in real time. You patronisingly tweeted them about there being no need to make a big deal in public about blocking you, they could just unfollow — which struck me as silly, since they wouldn’t have seen your tweet — and then proceeded to make a big deal in public about blocking them. Worse, you went further, “warning” others about them, calling them a troll and accusing them of deliberately stirring up trouble. They did no such thing. You were completely out of order that night.

    Are some of Tim Burrowes’ comments harsh? Perhaps. But I don’t think you cop any more criticism than anyone else who promotes themselves as an expert by emphasising their experience, position on Top N charts, number of followers and other popularity-contest measures. I don’t think you’ve copped criticism any harsher than what you deal out yourself.

    I have no doubt that you feel hurt when someone bluntly disagrees with your professional viewpoints — with which you obviously have a passionate emotional attachment — and with your style of expression. But there’s a big jump from that to being bullied, and another big jump again to being stalked.

    I suspect that confirmation bias has led you to see organised malicious intent where there is little or none — that once you think there is malice then you will always see the evidence that supports that theory and overlook the evidence against.

    This comment…

    [T]elling someone they deserved to be bullied because they occasionally say something mean and ‘orrible to people is like telling a woman she deserves to be raped because she occasionally misbehaves when out on the town.

    … is an insult to rageintheempyre and to every victim of sexual assault. rageintheempyre didn’t say you deserved to be bullied, you’ve just verballed them. rageintheempyre said they didn’t consider this to be a case of bullying, but the normal levels of professional criticism in a “cut-throat industry” that “many people are passionate about”. For playing the rape victim card, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to give an indepth and heartfelt response to my post. I appreciate it. (BTW I really did just want to know what you were thinking when you said you didn’t want to go to ConnectNow- I was gonna give you a ticket – but I accept you won’t accept that :P)

    2. As I was reading the list of so called anti-Laurel comments, I couldn’t help but think most of them weren’t directly towards her, or even remotely “insulting”. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed.
      Having your professional career commentated on and critiqued is not bullying, nor is someone constantly blogging about a social media expert on a social media blog. The amount of times Mumbrella has blogged about Laurel is a mere 0.69% of the total posts on Mumbrella (according to their calculations on how many blog posts Mumbrella has and at the mentions of Laurel).
      Also, Stilgherrian, I was also outraged at how @SilkCharm reacted about the ConferenceNow twitter comments. Maybe that has influenced my view, but I don’t think one can throw rocks while living a glasshouse.
      If you want to make a stance on cyberbullying and call out on person on a very public blog, you can’t be guilty of it yourself, or at least not while you haven’t admitted it and taken responsible for it.

      1. Elle, is this the exchange you found outrageous? This is how I “cyberbully”?
        Reverse order (for posterity, so non-tweeters can see what the big argument was like…) Start at the bottom.

        From: cameronreilly @SilkCharm @stilgherrian is grumpy?? You must be confused. I can’t imagine it, I just can’t!?! o_O
        From: SilkCharm @stilgherrian so grumpy… I thought you said you wanted to see tangible business results. But not marketing. I was confuzzled. :p #bashtag
        From: jessicabrookes wish @stilgherrian & @silkcharm were using a #bashtag so I could follow their twitter disagreement better…
        From: stilgherrian @SilkCharm You ARE defensive! We AGREE on the goals of marketing here! WTF are you on about?
        From: stilgherrian @SilkCharm Sorry, where the fuck are you getting “marketing doesn’t equal tangible business results” from? I never said that.
        From: stilgherrian @SilkCharm Let’s make this very clear. I just said I wasn’t going to a specific conference. You wanted to ramp it up.
        From: SilkCharm @stilgherrian oh psh I’m not defensive, I know you 😛 Just wondered why marketing doesn’t equal tangible business results…
        From: stilgherrian @SilkCharm Sorry, this started because I said I wasn’t interested in a marketing conference and you got defensive because you’re a speaker.
        From: SilkCharm @stilgherrian I thought we were talking tangible business results? Not your personal taste in conferences? 🙂
        From: lukerides watch out – @silkcharm looks to be giving marketing lessons to @stilgherrian 😉 homeschooling anyone??
        From: stilgherrian @SilkCharm You’re failing to distinguish between those factors and what I personally am interested in spending my time upon.
        From: stilgherrian @SilkCharm Yes, that’s what marketing has to achieve, correct. But I, personally, am not interested in marketing for business profit.
        From: SilkCharm @stilgherrian interesting. Did you know that Marketing is responsible for product pricing & positioning… to point #1 of your list 🙂
        From: stilgherrian @SilkCharm “Tangible results”? Um, in business, measureable profit increase. In community, measurable outcomes. In politics, clear change.
        From: kolya @NickHodge @stilgherrian @silkcharm like meetings… Too much talk-ing not enough Do-ing. Meetings: take minutes, waste hours.
        From: SilkCharm @stilgherrian @NickHodge what do you consider to be tangible results?
        From: NickHodge RT @stilgherrian @SilkCharm I’m starting to think we have a surfeit of conferences and a deficit of ppl actually achieving tangible results
        From: stilgherrian @SilkCharm I’m starting to think we have a surfeit of conferences and a deficit of people actually achieving tangible results. :/
        From: SilkCharm @stilgherrian fair enough. I think it’s more about communication than marketing but there’s grey areas in there 🙂
        From: stilgherrian @SilkCharm I’m sure #connectnow has stuff for non-profits, but it’s a marketing conference and, as I say, I’m not interested in marketing.
        From: SilkCharm @stilgherrian @mediahunter #cnow has lots for not for profits.

        Earlier tweets have disappeared but this was my first tweet to @stilgherrian on #cnow – as soon as he capitalized things I was outta there.
        Please be aware I’m not a big fan of blogging about tweets (or even the lesser sin of commenting about tweets). Twitter is a social space where debates, fights, make-ups, apologies, and rematches happen. Blogging takes them from real time into static events, making everyone vulnerable. But in this case I think it’s allowed.

  17. Laurel, my instinct here is to agree with Stilgherrian. He’s been clear and considered in his words.

    It’s about time pretty much everyone in this industry took a long, hard look at the way we deal with other (I’m hardly a cleanskin myself). Too often, large parts of our industry seem to take delight in cutting each other down at the earliest opportunity. Too often, it’s fire from the hip without thinking.

    Aren’t we all going to be better off getting out of the sandpit and proving our value by displaying qualities of leadership – consideration, compassion, clear thinking, respecting others?

    Differences of opinion are fine, of course. But let’s do it the right way. Right now (and it’s not just in Australia), the instinct seems to be cut down rather than counter, clear views.

    As the parent of a new high schooler, cyberbullying is a major issue that concerns me greatly, though my views on managing it occasionally diverge somewhat from those more prominent in the field.

    As we are, purportedly, experts in the online world, we need to be helping people understand these issues and dealing with them professionally. You and Tim should sit down for a coffee and sort out your differences.

  18. Laural will you now stop your bullying behaviour?

    You point out 12 Cyber Bullying behaviours – will you now stop all of these behaviours?

  19. “… They like to play mind games so they can dtermine weakness and then exact a toll because we all have exploitable weaknesses …” ~

    Hi Laurel,

    I’ve written up a couple of short articles that might give you some extra insight into Bullying & CyberBulling in particular: Hacking People (how bullies operate) ~ it’s from a flickr set specifically on Bullies, bullying & cyberbullies ~ Each image has either an article or comment related to the topic.

    If you are being hassled & don’t know quite how to respond shoot a quick twitter to @navarrotells (Joe Navarro). Joe has had many years dealing with such situations & tactics and may have some useful tips or referrals.

  20. In the following I am stating my opinion and judgement. There is nothing factual about it.

    Bullying is a two-factor problem – bully and victim. The bully’s problems are obvious and they need help. The victim’s problems are seemingly ignored altogether.

    “WHAT!!!” I hear you exclaim whilst sharpening your pitchfork and doning your white hat “DO YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT IT IS THE VICTIM’S FAULT?”. mmm – calm down there. Smile – it’s good for you.

    The real solution in my view is that the bully needs effective and possibly ongoing councelling to halt the socially unacceptable behaviour BUT so does the victim. The victim needs some effective tools and methodologies with which to counter bullying directly so that they are not easy targets. In the wild if you’re weak you get eaten by something stronger, so you develop a way to counter your weakness – speed, numbers etc. It may not always work, but the predator does not care. In life it’s really much the same thing. You actually don’t have much power to do anything, really, than develop strategies to counter or avoid or both so that the bully has to eventaully get their kicks with somebody else. But not everyone has these skills and as a society I think we should take the responsibility to help them, even if it means having to pay some money for it.

    Laurel – please – no disrespect – I couldn’t read everything you wrote – I don’t have the attention span. But it seems to me that the best approach to your problem with Tim is to work out what is giving him fuel and to deny him that. If that’s no possible, then ingore the ravings as irrelevant dribble and sue him if you want to and can for defamation if it goes there.

    Finally by blogging you are making yourself – or attempting to make yourself – a public figure. The rules for public figures are a little different than for mere mortals. It isn’t possible to throw something out to the crowd and then control how each individual in that crowd responds. So to some extent you will have to embrace your critics and even maybe try to learn from them – keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

    Good luck.

    1. “Finally by blogging you are making yourself – or attempting to make yourself – a public figure. The rules for public figures are a little different than for mere mortals.”
      With 26% of Australians uploading content each month, does that make all of them a “public figure”? Anyone with a MySpace page or Twitter account is open to sustained attacks from another party and should accept these “different rules”? I think the world has changed… “public figure” needs to be looked at closely, no?

  21. What I find concerning is this is being distributed as information relating to the general cyber bullying, not as a personal taking of issue with online comments. So under an emotive term this extremely detailed passive-aggressive post is making it’s way far and wide. I feel it is very disingenuous to preface what is clearly a personal problem with a supposedly objective and helpful reference to the wider issue of cyber-bullying.

    Your definition of cyber-bullying notes that bullying, as opposed to actions such as disagreement, abuse, trolling and mudslinging, indicates an imbalance of power, notions of threat and the taking on of a victim identity. As you say, ‘Weak people are not in a position to bully’.

    You seem to have the victim aspect down pat, but I’m not seeing an inequality of power? The fact you seem to be fulfilling most, if not all, of your attributes of cyber-bullying in your ‘defense’ indicates you certainly are not a ‘weak’ person in this space.

    I’m not commenting personally – I know neither of you, probably never will and am quite sure you both, like me, have all the ups and downs that come with being incredibly good looking and intelligent at the same time.

    What I am commenting on is the masking of very personal issues behind a facade of informative or professional presentation, attempting to grasp the moral high ground and surf a wave of genuine public sympathy for the generalised issue of cyber-bullying.

    Does this mean I think you should stay silent if you feel ‘bullied’? Of course not.

    However, choosing to deal with it in this fashion is something I find quite disturbing (and unfortunately not uncommon). If you genuinely wish to educate, inform and discuss the general issue then please do – but at least place a single step of distance between it and your personal problems to enable perspective and discussion beyond ‘he said/she said’.

    I am surprised that the simple lessons we teach to kids about offline bullying don’t come through here. If you’re being bullied, first see if you are doing something *stupid* that may be causing this response – if so, decide whether you really need to do it. Second, stop being upset for the simple fact that someone doesn’t like you – you get that. Third, see if you really need to *visit* the place where the bullies frequent – if not, find somewhere better to spend your time. Fourth, if you have completely established it’s not you, it’s them, that it’s not a need to be loved by all and you absolutely can’t avoid the bullies, you really have four options:

    1) Engineer circumstance so you are able to deliver a 2×4 to their kneecaps without fear of retribution
    2) Whinge about it to any and all that will listen
    3) Make positive life changes that ensure you don’t care about pitiable bullies and are in no personal or professional danger from their frustration
    4) Take that anger and frustration out by becoming a bully yourself

    I’d recommend 3 but 1 does come a very close second.

  22. this is a bit rich … laurel you give as good as you get and generally you appear to be a pretty good sport when all is said and done.

    i know the term ‘cyber-bullying’ is probably one without a proper definition … but I think Tim Burrowes writing a few posts that disagree with your own assertions and a teenager being too afraid to leave the house after being bombarded with explicit threats and abuse are worlds apart. One is a professional difference mixed with a bit of snark … the other is truly aggressive behaviour designed to incite fear.

    1. Surely bullying can be done to ruin reputation? It doesn’t have to imply physical abuse. Any attempt to continually ridicule and incite others to ridicule another can be bullying. And Ben, I like a bit of intense debate and I do give as good as I get. But I am fearful of it being misrepresented and taken out of context on Mumbrella’s blog yet again. Hence the tweet mid argument with you. I find myself seeing everything through a “Mumbrella” filter i.e. “how can this be misconstrued?” That’s not my authentic voice…
      I don’t do sustained, attacks on another, it’s over in a handful of sentences (tweets) – and I don’t know of another human being attacked on Mumbrella’s blog that has sustained 26 attacks in around a year (ave. one a fortnight).
      It’s not the pettiness of the posts, or the inanities or the fact they don’t actually address any issues to do with me or my work, it’s the drip drip drip, the sinking feeling when someone mentions you are on Mumbrella yet again, like it’s a national sport. Bullying absolutely ruins quality of life.

      1. Here’s the problem. What you say is perfectly valid. However, looking up the page there is a wall of text in which you are damaging Tim’s reputation and a massive string of tweets and re-tweets spreading this permanent and persistent message far and wide. You’re a social media expert – you should be able to judge the effectiveness of both *campaigns* and realise that in terms of impact on reputation, you’ve got a good chance of scoring just as many *points* as he apparently has.

        I’d say that’s all fine and dandy but the problem is that you have gone about it in a manner that comes across as extremely disingenuous and passive-aggressive – see my comments above on why.

        All this exercise boils down to is him not liking things you say and vice versa, and both of you trying to convince others of the righteousness of your POV. Kinda like real life.

        However, by casting yourself as a victim – with the moral positioning that comes with that – you have turned the dial up a bit and moved towards polarising people’s viewpoints. This is not such a good idea in my opinion – if the apparent weight of numbers is on your side, you can feel self righteously vindicated and his repuation may suffer. If more people see you as being overly-dramatic, -sensitive and attention-seeking, then that’s the crown you get to wear (and one that people who do ‘have it in for you’ will happily publicise).

        I’ll boil down what I said above. If you are being bullied, or if you’re not but think you are, either way playing the victim card is not a good idea – especially if it leads to you doing what you accuse others of.

        You have some very valid issues and concerns but what this discussion could best benefit from is an examination of ways to effectively deal with cyber bullying in general rather than all about you – which is the purported essence of why it is here.

        Put it another way – I don’t know either of you from a bar of soap but after reading your post, I was left with a worse initial opinion of you than Tim due to the way in which you presented your information. Luckily I’m not in the business of judging and would prefer to be constructive but I can see how many people would form that opinion and run with it, not a positive result when you clearly do have justified complaints to make.

        If you could actually create a post dealing thoughtfully with constructive means of recognising and coping with online harassment *and* cyber-bullying that would be a very positive outcome. If you could take on board what some people here are saying and distance yourself while doing so, I think that would be even more positive 🙂

  23. The only way I know to deal with this sort of thing is for real life situations. There’s certainly a lot to read on that post and in the comments, but it seems that if we strive to be professional, ensure that your side of the story, told very reasonably, is given equal air time if you feel that is necessary (if the bully is even worth it which often are not), and giving no oxygen to the bully/person trying to take you down for known (or unknown) reasons, then in the end the better person comes out on top. Also ensuring you know who your real friends are and getting support from them as you need it. As always, bullying says more about the bully than the recipient but it’s how the victim deal with it which can set the benchmark..As someone else mentioned up there, keeping a healthy distance from the behaviour (even if it is emotional distance).

    As they say, “never argue with idiots, they will only take you down to their level and then beat you with experience”

    Sure are a lot of haters in the comments up there. Spending a lot of energy grizzling when they could be doing something fun!

  24. The only way I know to deal with this sort of thing is for real life situations. There’s certainly a lot to read on that post and in the comments, but it seems that if we strive to be professional, ensure that your side of the story, told very reasonably, is given equal air time if you feel that is necessary (if the bully is even worth it which often are not), and giving no oxygen to the bully/person trying to take you down for known (or unknown) reasons, then in the end the better person comes out on top. Also ensuring you know who your real friends are and getting support from them as you need it. As always, bullying says more about the bully than the recipient but it’s how the victim deals with it which can set the tone..As someone else mentioned up there, keeping a healthy distance from the behaviour (even if it is emotional distance).

    As they say, “never argue with idiots, they will only take you down to their level and then beat you with experience”

    Sure are a lot of haters in the comments up there. Spending a lot of energy grizzling when they could be doing something fun!

  25. You’re both obviously conspiring to generate traffic. You like and respect each other really. And you’ve both got better things to be doing, really.

  26. This whole situation makes me feel pretty sad really, having read it all. I’ve missed most of the online exchanges. I don’t know how I can add to what has been said as all, there has been so much…

    All I can say is that I think if it was me (I mean either one of you two involved), at this stage, having gone this far, I’d feel like the only thing left to do is to try and meet each other offline, in person, privately, and try really hard to work it out in some way. Perhaps to try and get to some some sort of mutual understanding. Real, old-fashion face-to-face communication. It is still the best way to work out differences, I believe.

  27. Hi Laurel,

    A Fascinating post and stream of comments, particularly given the work i’ve been doing with NAPCAN ( around the whole area of cyber-bullying and kids (see our Smart Online, Safe Offline project –

    I only vaguely know both you and Tim – interestingly i recall our first meeting – i was quoted in the AFR about something to do with social media, you referenced the article and me, suggesting that people in big agencies (which i was at the time) shouldn’t comment about social media as they don’t know anything about it, especially if they don’t have a blog. I dropped you an email suggesting that we meet face-to-face so that if you were going to run me down on your blog, at least i had the comfort of knowing you knew who i was. We met for a coffee and had a really interesting chat, and have bumped into each other a few times since. And the only other references i’ve had on your blog have been balanced and fair.

    It feels like a lot of this could have been sorted out between you and Tim over a cup of coffee, but it may be too late for that now, which is a pity, as i think you are both really smart people with lots to say about social media. I must admit though, i’m often a little wary of both of you for your sharp turns of phrase, and the level of influence you both have in the market

    In terms of cyber bullying, i think the one key aspect that would stop this being defined cyber-bullying as defined by the academic experts in the space is the lack of power inequality. With your support base, both through your twitter account and blog, and as you have strongly evidenced through this post, you have an extremely solid power base and the ability and willingness to fight back. So i think you’d have to classify the disagreement between the two of you more as slanderous or libel publishing or simply a messy fight rather than bullying.

    But overall, a really interesting discourse and discussion on cyber-bullying, and some great points to take out and map into some of our work with kids online. And we should have another coffee sometime 🙂

    Mike Zeederberg (and i STILL don’t have a blog -yet!)

  28. Re MikeZed
    Just for clarity – In 2007 I criticised an article by The Australian Financial Review about corporate blogging, written from quotes from a number of people in agencies – none of whom blogged. There were no quotes from bloggers at all – business or otherwise. I thought that wasn’t informed reporting. Mike sees that as personal and “slagging off” …

    I have worked with NAPCAN – ironically on bullying online- as well and I think they would be horrified with that comment. Illinforned – the popular girl in the school yard CAN be bullied by the boy with the gang and it doesn’t have to be physical.

    The saddest thing for me are the number of emails I have received from women who are in a similar situation – bloggers without the audience that MikeZed points out above – giving ME support… I just been asked to speak at a Government conf on cyber bullying and cyber rascism to address these issues. It’s in a couple of weeks. Will keep you posted.

    1. Hmm – your comment was “Mike Zeederberg from Profero (both such shining examples of Web 2.0 marketing genius. Heh).” – that’s not a comment about how informed the reporting was, it’s a comment on whether or not the person the reporter spoke to knew anything about Web 2.0 marketing – given that we’d never met, i wasn’t sure on what basis you’d made the judgment call about my knowledge, which is why i suggested we meet. I’m not complaining, it’s your blog and you can say what you like about people, and from my perspective, it was good to meet you and the matter was completely resolved.

      I’m interested to know why it’s important to you that the interaction between you and Tim is classified as cyber-bullying rather than something more legally serious. On the legal scale of things, cyberbulling doesn’t constitute an action against the laws of society (ie. something illegal), and yet slander, defamation and libel comments are all prosecutable crimes. By classifying the interaction as “bullying”, it seems to cast you as a victim, rather than as an individual who has been wronged, which seems at odds with the little i know of you.

      Good luck with the gov conference, be really interested to know who the audience is, i’m in Canberra next week with NAPCAN for a number of meetings, so it may be worth swapping notes.

  29. By now everyone has had their 2 cents, but I have only just come across this disagreement and feel the need to comment (As most internetters do)

    I think it is relevant to point out that irrespective of Mr Burrows’ intentions, Ms Papworth still FEELS as though she was bullied. This is NOT to say that Tim was or was not bullying her (purposefully or otherwise) or that he had any malicious intent in his posting.

    Basically, I think it is important for both parties to step back for a moment to get some perspective on the matter: Stuff was said, feelings were hurt, reputations were attacked (on both sides)

    To you Laurel, I am not going to discount your experience. However I feel there are better ways to resolve this issue and I just want to give some constructive feedback on ways to continue:

    – If you feel as though you have been unfairly portrayed and/or targeted, it may be useful to discuss this with Tim > without forming an argument that appears as an attack. i.e. “You make me feel _____ when you ______” <– use this exact sentence structure. It conveys feelings without laying blame. It is used in counselling sessions so everyone can express themselves without arguments.

    – By bringing this issue up in a public arena is such a way (irrespective of where this started) Tim has automatically been put on the defence. He will not be as likely to listen to your concerns if he feels like this is a personal attack. If you want Tim to listen it may be advantageous to acknowledge both of your feelings on the issue i.e. "I understand that you are upset by my posting, but this experience of bullying feels very real to me" (use active listening).

    – This disagreement has unfortunately gotten to the point where both parties will be arguing and defending different points. In the end neither will be satisfied and both are only preaching to the choir. Each side will get angrier, and nothing will happen. It might be best to move on from any anger from most recent posts on both sides, and getting back to the original issue of feeling uncomfortable with your portrayal in general by Mumbrella.

    That basically sums up my perspective on resolving this issue.
    I know I'm no expert, but hopefully it helps a little.

    Jess Watson

    1. Thank you Jess, for your thoughtful and considered response. I agree, with your main points. I guess my concern was that broaching Tim Burrowes privately would put me in a detrimental position as he has published private emails and conversations before. I’m also not really interested in taking this “relationship” beyond this one post…

      1. You’re not genuinely interested in resolving this, Laurel? These are serious allegations you’re making, and not everyone agrees with the points you’re making. You don’t seem terribly interested in working towards a resolution. Isn’t that a tad disingenuous?

        1. *puzzled* no, I don’t want to take it any further. It would be disingenuous to say that I do want a friendship with Tim Burrowes. At least that is my understanding of the word “disingenuous”. Contrary to popular myth, no one has to be friends with everyone in social media. We can filter out… Unfortunately ignoring the situation was causing more damage. Trust me, I wouldn’t be putting myself on the line like this if I thought a beer would fix a misunderstanding.
          By the way, Stil, you and I have had some real wingdings in the past but I’d never accuse you of bullying. It would take a substantial unreasonable attack from you to make me not want to have a coffee and sort things out. That’s not a gauntlet by the way! 😛

          1. I suppose I have the luxury of looking at this from the outside, not being one of the parties to the dispute. You’re right in saying that everyone doesn’t have to be friends. There will always be people who, for whatever reason, don’t get on. Gawd, I probably don’t want to be friends with Tim Burrowes either. I’m fussy about that sort of thing: I have an old-fashioned view of the word “friend”. But that’s a completely separate issue from whether I see him as a professional who’s turned mUmBRELLA into a must-read website. And I’m seeing a real difference of viewpoints here which I don’t understand, one that doesn’t seem to be explained by a simple difference of opinion.

            Earlier you said that Tim Burrowes’ posts “don’t actually address any issues to do with me or my work”. But they do. They’re really quite specific.

            If there are common threads running through Tim’s posts, one of them is that he sees you as proposing that we don’t need journalists (your “heritage media”) because we now have social networks. He thinks that’s an extreme view, right up one end of the spectrum of views on how social media will change the world, and says so. I’m guessing that wordplay on “extreme view” led to “extremist” and then to his description of you as a “social media stormtrooper”.

            One of the posts where Tim uses that term is where he takes issue with something you said in your Media140 presentation, that journalists are “cosseted, under the tender loving hand of their editor”. That is, it’s a criticism of something you said in a professional forum.

            His other posts are the same. Sure, they’re worded with snark — that’s his writing style — but they’re his comments about your professional comments. Isn’t that all part of the deal when we choose to be public about our professional opinions?

            Tim Burrowes can’t possibly be the first person who’s disagreed with you, or gotten up your nose. As I said before, this is a passionate industry, and you’ve been playing this game for 20 years. So I suppose my question, the issue that I don’t understand, is just what’s different about this? I really don’t understand why this round of criticism is being perceived as being so personal.

            Is there some specific issue, belief, worldview, professional viewpoint or whatever that you hold particularly strongly personally that’s been challenged? Is there something specific about the wording of the criticism? Is there something about Tim Burrowes himself, or his mode of operation, that grates?

            I guess I’m puzzled by the characterisation of Tim’s posts as “26 attacks” when even you recognise some of them as neutral, just “mentions”. And of course I count more of them as neutral than you do. Clearly you’re affected by this emotionally — well, you say you’re perceiving it as “bullying” — and yet from the outside there seems to be this sloppiness of facts which detracts from your case.

            If I may finish this long comment with a repeated question, “What is it that’s different about this than other professional criticism”? The answer surely can’t be about it being “sustained”, because you’re labelling as criticism things which are merely mentioned. Are you really perceiving it that negatively?

      2. It is very resonable to have that concern, considering your experiences. But I feel that with your writing experience & skills you are very capable of clearling and concisely outlining your concerns to him, without providing the opportunity to be quoted or misquoted.

        I understand that writing about such an experience objectively can be very difficult, especially as you probably still feel targetted. In the spirit of social-media-ness you could always go for transparancy; posting the full email on your blog (and telling tim you have done so). This could allow you to use your follower’s feedback to ensure that you express your feelings without ‘attacking’ and could give you peace of mind regarding misrepresentation. But then I haven’t experienced this particular situation myself, and do not know what it’s like to have so many readers and followers – so you would know whether this was appropriate.

        I think that either way is not going to end with yourself and Tim skipping through a flowered field together, but the behaviours that are upsetting you are unlikely change drastically if he discounts your arguements as being unreasonable due to his own feelings of personal attack.

        Hope it gets resolved either way.

        – Jess.

  30. Only know about your existence because I read Mumbrella, I agree with some of your observations re. Social media, but disagree with most. I think everything Tim wrote about you was above board and legitimate opinion. Didn’t shape my opinion of you and your credibility greatly.

    What HAS lowered you in my estimation, Laurel, is this despicable character assassination.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

  31. Sorry Lauren, I have no respect for you and your comments whatsoever. Your entire attitude is a joke, and every day you continue to open your mouth about this and spew more verbal diarrhoea continues to damage to the profession.

    You’d have been far better shutting your mouth, and I hope that you learn to do that soon for the entire profession’s sake.

  32. I’m sorry, but I do have to wonder whether anyone has bigger fish to fry. After all it’s not like somebody’s dying of cancer or something. TIme maybe to take stock and have another look?

    Now that it’s insulting more than ever
    Know that we still hate each other
    You can stick it up my mumbrella
    You can stick it up my mumbrella
    ey, ey, ey…. 😛

  33. Elle, Dave, Andrew etc have written all that I would say here.

    I’ve only ever been made aware of your existence once before this Laurel, having been added by you on Twitter (then unfollowed when I didn’t follow you back), so I really am not familiar with who you are.
    I’ve read the so-called ‘attacks’ though and feel your case is ridiculous. Most of them are merely mentions. Mentioning a social media expert in a social media blog? Shocking. People are allowed to criticise you. You certainly criticise others.

  34. I believe in these situations the best way of solving the problem is to ask the other person out for a coffee and talk to them in person your concerns and try to work out an agreement. Has worked every time for me!

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  38. Hi laural

    Our paths have crossed and I’ve found you to be extremely aggressive towards me and my company. So much so that I don’t want to put my name to this comment.

    Further, you seem to have ostracised yourself from the marketing and advertising community with an extremely aggressive stance – and perhaps you may want to re-think that? The industry needs experienced social media thinkers and throwing stones from the outside doesn’t help anyone.

    1. Hi “Ralph” – my name is Laurel not laural and I do put my name to any opinion I have – it takes some courage to stand up to bullies and critics. I hope you find that courage one day. Cheers Laurel.

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