How Do You Protect Yourself From Your Online Friends?

by Jan Geronimo on March 26, 2009

The reticules of modern crossbow telescopic si...Image via Wikipedia

This is a little story about how an unwieldy stimulus package can drive away your treasured online buddy.

I had this twitter app that emails me at several hours interval every day a summary of my direct messages in Twitter, the last 20 tweets, a list of new followers with their bio, Facebook updates, and list of persons who unfollowed me in twitter.

A reader of this blog has unfollowed me in Twitter. It struck me as odd. We had emailed each other before discussing our posts and interaction with readers. I felt a connection with her because she’s a real charmer and what she writes about resonates with me.

I know, hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs worldwide. And there seems no assurance tomorrow or the day after will be any different.

And I have just lost only one blog reader. Get a grip, I have told myself. A dear online buddy told me the same thing and advised me to grow another layer of skin, the thicker the better.

If any other individual unfollowed me in Twitter I will not mind at all. The twittersphere is one thriving democracy. Everyone can do as he pleases.

Back to the story. Hours later, I’ve stumbled upon the probable reason why I fell out of grace. I had used an offending phrase which might have driven her nuts. Apparently, she’s launched a crusade against the ill-advised use of the phrase “stimulus package.” And I was a deer caught in the cross-hairs of her crossbow. This is how I’ve used the offensive phrase in my post If Tweet Be Told I Love Tweeter:

For somebody who has aspirations to uber blogging (I do, I do), I find Twitter a blessing. In this time of want and depressed economic realities, Twitter experience has become – excuse me, Mr. Barack Obama – the ultimate stimulus package. For the creative mind at least. And this makes me very happy.

Truth to tell, she’s got a great catch on the day she wrote her post – all stupid uses of the phrase with a lot of her other pet peeves.She had them all fingerprinted and lined up the wall for the usual mug shots.

Reading on, I realized she has this abiding love for the language. That’s an admirable trait in itself. I should not feel particularly singled out. In the first place, she didn’t even link to my offending use of the language to make me feel stupid in the eyes of her other readers.

My only beef is that I just wish she had called me out on the comment section of this blog. Here. So I can defend my position and choice of words. I maybe careless with my use of the language, but I can always listen especially from an online buddy. This old dog can still learn new tricks, I earnestly believe that.

Of course, I’ve also considered the possibility that I tweeted too much. And she wanted out. As simple as that.

I’m not fishing for sympathy here. I have already done any sane man will do under this circumstance: scamper under the safety of the table and whine, tail between my legs. And I’m fine with this.

So, I’m curious and would like to hear your opinion. How do you deal with online flak? And how do you protect yourself from your online buddies?

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  • Was curious about the title so I came right in. :-) Jan, even though this post is almost an year old, I still wish to tell you that you're not alone in this. (I'm sure you have long got over this matter)

    English language has always been quite intriguing to me, sadly I do not possess the skill in the wordplay myself (my vocab is not that rich yet). ^^ Networking is never easy, especially we have no time to know someone completely, as Kristi pointed out. Hopefully this is the only bad experience you had to go through and no more misunderstandings between you and online friends.

    People come and go - true. We just gotta get used to it. :-)

    Social/Blogging Tracker
  • Hi, my friend. Well, those were the times when I still wore my heart on my
    sleeves. I was too onion-skinned then. My first online friends frequently
    asked me, "Who was it this time, Jan?"

    I've since learned to be more gracious. The few times I don't are the times
    I choose to make fun of myself. I still write about them, but I've made it
    an occasion to poke fun more at myself. An ode to silliness, if you will.

    Thanks a lot for noticing a museum piece of a post. LOL
  • lol.. no problem. It's good to have a sense of humor from time to time. Oh, I love to dig through old archive, helps me to know my blogger friend better. Had fun reading this post. ^^
  • I just got my first hater.

    It's fodder for a post, hopefully to publish Oct. 11 2009.

    I'm actually quite flattered someone took the time to vent.
  • Wow, something to look forward to. I'm already excited how you will handle
    that kind of blogging nuisance. ",)
  • Hi Jan,

    I do believe that you cannot please everyone in the blogsphere. We belong to different cultures and diverse backgrounds, so what we consider as inane might be something significant for them , or vice versa; so I expect some disensions every now and then and consequently some unsubscribers.

    I , too, had some readers who came and left, but I don't usually take note of the daily count so it does not matter so much. If someone left, there will always be someone who would take her/his place. The important thing is that, we persevere and keep writing and blogging. Eventually when the dust has settled down, those who are left are those who truly read our posts and those who are loyal and genuine - online friends.

    Keep writing and cheers!
    .-= Jena Isle´s last blog ..CHAPTER 3 - UMMA AYAM SINSANA (WHERE ARE YOU NOW?) =-.
  • Jan
    @fedhz: It's a case of much ado about nothing. I understand her point now...Well, thank you, I will add you too.
  • fedhz
    hmm. I didn't get it. (me slow).. anyway, I'll be following (stalking) you on twit from now on..
  • Jan
    @Kikolani: I quite agree on the futility of censoring your writing because you might offend some people. That takes away the spirit of the post. It becomes toothless. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Appreciate it. :)
  • Kikolani
    I used to be sensitive about that kind of thing, but now that I have been doing this for awhile, I don't take it too personally. I wish I had time to get to know everyone personally to the point that I know what offends them and what doesn't, but I don't. Even if I did, I'm not sure I would want to try to censor all of my writing to not offend people here and there.

    As far as followers and unfollowers, people's interests change. My interests have changed since I started writing, and while I lose some of my original followers, I gain new ones that are more in tune with my new interests. There's a good balance in that I believe.

    ~ Kristi
  • Jan
    @Petit: It's all right. I thought you were just joking anyway. I'm more concerned with covering "that" post with new ones. Lol.

    @jojigirl: I benefited from your quiet investigation. And indeed it's hearsay. :) Thank you, Joji.
  • jojigirl
    Well, today I am stymied by the fact that I am to finalize preparations for the upcoming public hearing within this week of a proposed ordinance. So I am not getting enough focus and mood to write something on my blog. But I always make sure na bumisita dito like family, and check if things are well, hehe...kaya I did a little investigation of the "hear-say" about her. ",)
  • Petit
    see how careless i am in a rush-rush world i am in? what on earth made me think this was me...hahaha! and i tweeted you.. sorry about that, i just read a portion and did not finish it, the medreps were damn so makulit while im surfing. next time i'll open stuff at home na lang. its so embarrassing.
  • Jan
    @jojigirl: sshh...I'm not going to ask how you know. I'd just chalk it up to woman's intuition. Please keep it a secret. Dyahe sa kanya. I see it now as much ado about nothing. Nadaldalan lang siguro talaga sa akin dun sa twitter un tao. lol
  • jojigirl
    Just got the chance na bumisita sa kanyang lair. Sa 'kin ung post mo eh naging stimulus package din nya na magkaroon ng ganung post, hehe ayun na naman lagot ako dito kaya i'll comment in Pilipino nalang.
    Parang naloloka lang sya kung marinig niya un dahil she's hearing it everywhere na, like it's sobrang stale na siguro para sa kanya, hehehe...But then seems like hindi rin naman siya na offended talaga sa paggamit mo dun, parang it's about the fact na those words were everywhere. Ung post mo nagsilbing isang prod lang un for her to come up with that post re: most over-loosely used words siguro. Ewan ko lang din, kasi sabi mo nasa drop off list kana nya sa Twitter pero andun ka pa naman sa blogroll nya, hehe..I remember ako pa naman ung nag bruite sa kanya about u noon in one of my random visits sa kanya. ",)
  • Jan
    @lemuel: I had an interesting exchange of message with Roy. He said that I had given her at the very least something to post about. :) I might have irritated her with my careless use of the language, but at least it became a fodder for her post.

    @dee: Naah, I will not tell you. You might not come back here anymore. She writes well and has a very quirky, entertaining view on a lot of things. :)

    @diTesco: Thanks for that message. :) In balance, this is still all right. I love writing, but she loves the English language more. Fair enough, I think.
  • diTesco
    I will have to agree with @Roy. You win some, you loose some. Unfortunately, you can not make everyone happy. If she unfollowed you, it was for a reason (good or bad). Sometimes it is better to know whom you can really count on. Maybe it was for the reason I told you on my DM to you. Go figure
  • Dee
    Ei, Jan, in this global media, sometimes we just cannot tell how people from other cultures would take our words. Sometimes what we say may be a euphemism for them.

    I'm really curious, though, about who she is and how she launched a crusade...sounds religious... :D
  • lemuel
    sometimes when we write, we try to be objective as possible, sometimes, we try to make it more interesting by putting a little humor. i don't see anything wrong about the phrase, then again, its hard because, we are not there to experience what they are feeling right now...
  • Jan
    @fifi: Gosh, you're always one step ahead of me. I kept chasing you in the comment section of this blog. I'm out of breath. ahahaha.

    I'm a bit disappointed with my decision to post this complaint. A day after I published it I felt like I'd been a crybaby. On the other hand, I let it go. Maybe there's some use for it. Like if I wanted to see a time line of my progress or lack of progress as an online author. So the bad part stays. hahaha.
  • fifi
    the cyberspace is an abused space, don't you think? i've always thought that engaging in an online community meant being deliberately detached from your emotions arising from unwanted reactions (like, higher tolerance for frustrations over rejection). but this post made me realize otherwise. you are still human afterall, jan.
  • Jan
    @earthlingorgeous: I'll take your advice to heart. They love you and then they leave you. Just like in real life. hahaha. But only faster - as fast as mouse click as you said. Thanks. :)
  • earthlingorgeous
    This post is very intriguing. Honestly I agree with the advice about growing another layer of skin. I've been using the internet for chatting and blogging for five years and have been a victim of online people that I met for real and hurt me real bad to leave a blogging place I used to love.

    I've been unfollowed and unsubscribed too many times I can't even remember already. First time hurt, second make me wonder why, third made me realize such is the internet world they love you and they leave as fast as they can click their mouse.

    I even remember the time when the Follower button in blogger had a major change without notice and suddenly I lost 13 subscribers in one day I was flabbergasted. Then someone told me it was a glitch so I was relieved.

    Anyway, you can't please everyone out here. I blog for MY sake hah! If others like what I do well thank you, if they don't well they can skip my blog.
  • Jan
    @enhenyero: Those phrases were several paragraphs apart and you made a naughty connection. Lol. You're wicked.

    Okay, I revised that part. I hope this made it a little easier to read. :) Is this what you meant by missing link? Or do you mean the link to her? No, this blog is littered with linguistic mines. I don't want to cause her unnecessary distress. :)
  • enhenyero
    Oh that stimulus package again, posts i read refers it to the tail between your legs, lol.. no wonder tol..

    psst..there's a missing link.
  • Jan
    @elmot: Let me say that it's more about me that it is about her and her perception of what's the proper usage of the language.

    It says more about my Achilles heel than a neighbor's enthusiasm for cleaning up the internet of careless, irritating and mindless use of English.

    It says more about me and my weaknesses. It's time I addressed them. That's the lesson learned from posting this.

    Just wrote about it because I don't it gnawing at me every waking hour. I'm good now. And more levelheaded now that it's out there. I'm taking your advice to heart as I don't want to get swallowed up by all this. :)
  • elmot
    i agree with jez, this makes me want to know the person...sorry jan, but is she that uber sensetive? well, can't blame her, she has reasons, but the world is jst so complex and if you are so strict at looking at and interpreting things, then you would end up just being swallowed alive by the millions of personalities, languages that are different from yours...

    one just makes his world so little to live in to...

    ei jan, there was no bday cake after all for yatot, ehehe...
  • Jan
    @bingkee: Oh, I hope it's not for being a crybaby. hahaha.

    Thanks. Off to check it out now. :)

    @yatot: Thanks for the sensible advice, buddy. Wooo...this crocodile skin sure smells funny. hahaha
  • yatot
    and so you posted it... hahhahaha... like what i said to you on gmail chat... she's just one follower who unfollow... if you continue on being like this... and everyone unfollow you... that would be suicidal... wahhahhaha.. so yeah! have a thicker skin... a crocodile skin will do! =P
  • bingkee
    Jan, I have an award for you at my site and I know you will love it and post it.
  • Jan
    @Jehzeel: This is just a tempest in a teacup. Oh, is that right - this expression? I just might get into trouble again! This is making me a little jumpy. hahaha.
  • Jehzeel Laurente
    Now I'm so curious and I'm eager to know about who is she? Hehehe... woooooot!
  • Jan
    @roy: oh, the paragraph which contained the offensive phrase "stimulus package" is this:

    "For somebody who has aspirations to uber blogging (I do, I do), I find Twitter a blessing. In this time of want and depressed economic realities, Twitter experience has become - excuse me, Mr. Barack Obama - the ultimate stimulus package. For the creative mind at least. And this makes me very happy."

    Roy, are just humoring me or what. :) Here's to sulking then! hahaha. With friends like you I can take some real unfairness in the chin anytime. Thanks.
  • Roy
    hmm... followed the 'this post' and I'm still clueless :(

    anyway, it's all part of the game... you win some, you lose some... and then you lose some more...

    life is never fair.

    you can sulk for a moment... it is but a natural reaction (to be honest, I sulk in the corner for days), but life has to go on.

    but then of course, I'm sure you know that ;)
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