Sunday, 24 October 2010
Two sides to every story
It’s not all beer and skittles, this online life. One of the most difficult things to come to terms with, I think, is that if you raise your head above the parapet, people think they can publish what they like about you.
For legal reasons, there’s only so much I can say on this for the time being.
But for those of you who believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt until they have heard both sides of an argument, I hope you'll take the time to read what I can tell you.
1. Sometimes, earlier in the year, you hear things about someone, who you like and think you get on with, and you ignore the things you hear, because you try to take people at face value. You think it’s unfair that person seems to be getting such a hard time, from so many people, when all they’ve ever been is nice to you. But a little bit later you hear more things, from different people, and you think ‘uh oh’. And then you hear even more things, from even more people, and you start to wonder if you’ve been naive. And on it goes.
2. Sometimes you discover that the person in question is indeed not the person you thought they were, when out of the blue a bit of banter turns quite unpleasant and you are on the receiving end of their vitriol.
3. Sometimes you and that person stop communicating for a little while and you wonder if it’s a good idea to be involved in the event they’re organising, but you’re aware your name is connected to the event and people have emailed you saying how much they’re looking forward to meeting you and you wonder what to do for the best, because the last thing you want to do is let anyone down.
4. Sometimes you think ‘it’ll blow over’, and a few weeks later you go away, thinking you’ll sort it all out when you’re back, and you have a lovely time and make new and really quite fabulous friends.
5. Sometimes you return from your lovely break to discover your dog has had a bad accident and needs £850 worth of emergency surgery and meanwhile the previous nonsense hasn’t blown over, in fact things have taken a decidedly alarming and increasingly bizarre turn.
6. Sometimes you think after a heated phone call and email exchange that you and the person concerned have sorted things out and are moving on, maybe not as friends but at least as colleagues, which is good, because you have so much to deal with right now.
7. Sometimes you discover the next day that the person concerned, despite sending you an apology in writing the previous day, had done something behind your back a few days earlier which you can’t quite believe but which makes you very cross because it could damage your livelihood, which is how you pay your bills (including the vet’s bill).
8. Sometimes you feel so overwhelmed by all this and the things going on in your personal life, too, that you have a rant on someone’s blog.
9. Sometimes that blog owner tells you to ‘go f*** yourself.’
10. Sometimes you feel that you’ve had enough of all this nonsense, and you know deep down you can no longer be part of an event you really wanted to be part of, but still you don’t want to let anyone down.
11. Sometimes more people, who you have never met, perhaps sensing you might be vulnerable, decide to have a go.
12. Sometimes you resign from something you were going to be a part of but you decide not to make a big song and dance about it because you don’t want to spoil it for anyone else, so you write a very polite email to all the organisers giving them your best wishes for the event and you feel relieved and hope people will understand.
13. Sometimes you go to another big event and you meet lots of lovely people and you think how lucky you are to know them and they restore your faith.
14. Sometimes you feel attacked, and you lash out on twitter, and that’s your right, because you are being honest and you have nothing to hide.
15. Sometimes you discover another blogger who apparently feels she can take the moral high ground has set up not one but two fake blogs and you start to feel a bit sorry for them.
16. Sometimes you return home on a Saturday afternoon to discover someone you have never met but who a month before had emailed you asking for the truth about what happened has blogged about you and you read comments written by people who don’t know you and have never met you, and never will, but for some reason have decided they don’t like you and will use any opportunity to have a go without ever trying to understand your side of the story, because they just don’t care, and you think... ‘meh’.
17. Sometimes you think why did the dog chew that wire, apparently it’s really important for setting up the Wii.
18. Sometimes you think that the last thing you want to see is Ann Widdecombe in a pair of purple hotpants.
19. Sometimes you think it’s a scandal what the Tories are doing to the NHS.
20. Sometimes you think: real life is more important.