Normally, I try to stay away from the drama on the Interwebs, but what has happened over the past couple days, has terrified me and has honestly made me question my own safety, and the safety of my book blogging friends. By now, I’m sure everyone has read the article. It details exactly how an author received a negative review of her book and proceeded to stalk the blogger that wrote the review, by calling at the blogger’s work & showing up at the blogger’s home.
I’m not going to link to it, because it’s not the article I want to talk about. It’s the stalking & the safety issue.
Stalking is wrong. You get that? Good.
Now I’ve written negative reviews many times and I honestly haven’t given it a second thought. I never even considered the possibility that someone would be that incensed by my negative review, that they’d possibly hunt me down. That is the scariest thought in the world. I did have a review of this author’s first book and, on Saturday afternoon, I took it off my blog because I don’t want to have anything to do with this woman and that includes having her book on my blog.
About a year ago, I started a Twitter just for blogging in the attempt to separate my personal life from my blogging life. Now I’ve got so many people, I’d consider friends that I’m rarely on my personal Twitter anymore, and I focus just on the book blogging one.
Feeling safe was something I never even gave a second thought about when I started this blog in April 2013. I never felt actually scared by anyone. After this broke out on Saturday, I felt honestly afraid and I seriously considered taking an extended hiatus and I HATE that someone has made me, and even others feel unsafe. I never want people to be afraid to join our book community. Just the thought of people being afraid, hurts my heart.
Safety considerations never even occurred to me, and I’m so upset by that. I’m not a teenager, I’m nearing the 30’s, so safety precautions should have been the first thought in my mind. What really upsets me is that I should have done a false name. My name is not very common, so the idea that someone could find me, scares the living daylights outta me. It never even occurred to me to omit a return address when mailing packages, because I was always worried that it would get lost.
I grew up in the time where the Internet was becoming a big thing. People were always warning the kids to use a fake name, don’t identify yourself, your school or any identifying details about yourself. Yet, I trusted the book blogging community. You guys know stuff about me. You know I have health issues, you know I use a wheelchair and you guys even know the name of my ex fiance. I trusted you guys even though it usually takes me a long time to trust people.
There are so many things I wish I had known 18 months ago, when I first started this blog. I’ll just mention the top 3.
- Use a pseudonym.
- Open a PO Box to receive packages.
- Don’t say any identifying details about yourself (exact location, parents’ names, kids names, schools etc)