Trolled: I'm an experienced journo but this really rocked me
BEING the target of online bullying, trolling, harassment and threats over the past 48 hours has been eye opening, to say the least.
Cyberbullying is alive and well and sickening in our region.
As the editor of a local newspaper for two years I've had to deal with abuse, threats and harassment before, but the avalanche of vitriol from some commentators of the Gympie Whinge Vent and Trolls Facebook group has taken things to a new low.
My crime? To be the editor of a paper that printed articles about the problem of cyberbullying and how some members of the 3800-strong group made inappropriate comments mocking the death of young Australian Dolly Everett, driven to suicide by cyberbullies.
The story went global after being picked up by the Daily Mail.
Cyberbullying is a big issue in this era of social media, and it is painfully clear to me - a resilient journo - how devastating it can be.
Until the last few days I was a member of that group. Its comments and discussions occasionally gave me cues to issues in our community, and we sometimes seeded online articles there to reach a wider audience.
I was blocked when the administrators made the connection.
But then on Sunday night, after trolling me and gloating about plundering my personal Facebook profile, somebody created a fake Shelley Strachan account, complete with my lifted photos, and proceeded to post comments on my behalf to the group - comments I would never make.
Consequently, I spent the day yesterday tightening the privacy settings on my life.
I am an experienced, mature journo, but this really rocked me.
Most victims don't have access to the support available in companies like ours, and are young and more emotionally vulnerable.
What can we do about it? I don't have the solution but we have outlined on P4-5 some basic steps you can take to protect yourself if you are the target of cyberbullies.
What I do know is society must not accept this.
If these trolls are doing this to me, what are they doing to others who are too afraid to speak up?
If we can help, or if you want to share your story contact firstname.lastname@example.org