In real life, the responsibility of keeping our communities healthy rests on the government and the people. These things don't take care of themselves. They fester and decay without maintenance.
Let's start a dialogue about keeping our internet communities healthy.
Kboards is our
writing community. We seek support and guidance here. We celebrate each other's victories and learn from our failures.
So, I want to tell everyone where I went wrong.
Where I failed as a community leader.
Back in 2012-2013, my YouTube channel was at its peak. I didn't have millions of subscribers or anything. No, no.
I was in grad school and had moved home. My spare time was spent making videos in my parents' basement. I garnered a few hundred thousand views a month, and I loved my little online community where we talked about books and nerd culture and supported each other creatively. Things were great. I published a story under my real name. I had a P.O. box where my viewers/readers would send me letters and packages.
It was all good fun. Until it wasn't.
All of that changed when I began receiving messages, photos, and videos from a certain user. The nature of his correspondence was sexual and threatening---not to mention completely insane. His threats and requests rarely made any sense. Blocking and ignoring him wasn't enough. He sent post cards from various states to my P.O. box, he knew my home address, eventually started posting letters, and then, finally, sending packages with contents I'd really rather not discuss.
I knew he was watching each time I'd upload a video. I knew he was reading my stories. I couldn't shake the paranoia I felt over his obsession. I didn't understand why I was his target. My channel was small. I was insignificant. Not a celebrity. Just a girl who made videos about nerdy things and wrote stories.
Eventually, the paranoia and anxiety overshadowed my enjoyment of making videos, and I abruptly quit my channel without explanation. I unpublished my title from Amazon. I disconnected my true identity from my social media platforms. Any titles I released following this incident were published under the Fran Seen pen name.
And I regret everything. Absolutely everything.
I let him win by giving him the satisfaction of sucking the joy from my life and what I loved to do.
Not being able to ask my community for help was my fatal mistake.
I thought that asking for help made me look weak.
Please, learn from my mistake. I know we're not all posting videos of ourselves on the internet, but most of us have our written work online, which means there's pieces of ourselves scattered across the web. We can't control who consumes our content. We can't control how people will respond to our writing. We can't control the reviews they leave or the emails they send or the blogs they write about us.
We have no control over others. We only have control over ourselves.
-Social media is wonderful, but please, beef up your privacy. I recommend keeping your friends and family out of the public eye (i.e. on your author pages). Create an author page separate from your personal one.
-Document everything if you find yourself in a situation similar to mine. (Emails, photos, video, etc.)
-Ask for help if you need it. Ask for help here, on Kboards. Look to friends and family. Seek out peers. Don't downplay the seriousness of a situation if it's bothering you. Don't laugh it off. Don't ignore it.
-And most of all, don't allow any deterrent to steer you away from what you love.
Here's a video I made about the whole ordeal.