Dealing with online abuse
It’s 2017 and currently over 70% of the UK’s adult population has a social media profile. Unfortunately with social media comes trolls, rumours, abuse and K***e Hopkins (I mean really, why?!). More and more people suffer at the hands of online trolls because sat behind a screen it’s much easier to get away with being a dick for no reason.
Now, if you’ve followed me for a few months you’ll remember back in May I was invited to Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Hull by the BBC. After the event I started to see myself being tagged in posts related to Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson, I quickly realised thousands of Little Mix fans thought Jesy and I were dating…this post isn't to address the rumours at all, it’s purely to share my experience with online hate, trolling and how I dealt with it.
The DM’s started to flood in, and within a couple of days of the rumour circulating I had over 700 direct message requests on Instagram. Some were actually quite nice, young Jesy fans messaging to say they hoped Jesy and I were happy together, and even apologising for the messages from the other half of her fans….the absolute bloody demons.
I still to this day am completely gobsmacked by the level of language some of those kids fired my way, as a professional wind-up merchant I had a bit of fun with some of my replies to her fans, however one DM changed absolutely everything for me. It was from a girl who was probably 15 maybe 16 years old maximum, she was super young and the message read
‘If you hurt my girl, I promise I will castrate you’
I mean, I had some pretty harsh comments about my looks, being ugly, never being good enough for a girl like Jesy…all that jazz, that’s water off a duck’s back. However, a message like that from a kid takes life to a whole new level of psycho. I had even more like that, I brushed them off because they’re simply empty threats from maniac fans, but really it’s actually quite scary how obsessive some of these ‘fans’ are, they’d literally send messages like that to a random person purely because my name was being thrown around on Instagram.
Like I say, I had over 700 direct messages, I didn't read most of them because they were either journalists trying to get me to sell a story, or fans telling me they’re going to be wearing my balls as earrings. I had a whole tonne of ‘you ugly’ comments, ones asking if I was actually 15 years old and a truck load telling me I was punching well above my weight…captain obvious. I was even called a little bitch, story of my life.
Luckily I have an extremely thick skin, and whilst it took me by surprise being talked about in such a way, it kept myself and my Twitter followers pretty entertained over the couple of weeks that it continued. I either had a jokey reply to the messages or just ignored them as I find that’s the best way to deal with online abuse. I think when you put yourself online like bloggers, vloggers and other content creators do, you’re opening yourself up to receiving comments that you’ll either love or hate. That’s all really part and parcel of being part of the digital sphere, I see people getting serious abuse on a daily basis and I genuinely think more needs to be done. The social media platforms for one allow absolute racist, bigoted, abusive individuals like K***e Hopkins online and it’s wrong. Yes, social media is a great place to share your opinions but you should NEVER intentionally set out to abuse someone.
So, that's my bizarre experience with online abuse at the hands of…erm…15 year old girls. I’ve not openly shared some of the experiences I had during the ‘Jesy Situation’ so I hope some of it gave you a chuckle, unfortunately I have deleted most of the DMs I received, so could only screen shot them from a couple of accounts.