To be clear – we all engage in back and forth banter sometimes, internet puffery where we beat our metaphorical chests. I always feel a little ashamed when I’m baited into it, because I know I should know better. It’s digital words in a digital format, and at the end of the day, it’s all a “I just shot you, nuh-uh I have super armor, nuh-uh you don’t” kind of childhood throwback; nothing is solved and everyone’s all riled up about it. It should be avoided whenever possible, and if you feel it can’t, read what you’re about to say out loud before posting it…this is actually quite an effective deterrent to being drawn into drama.
Also, the internet is not, and never will be, anonymous. The very nature of the world wide web is its interconnectedness; the reason we can pull so much relevant information up so quickly is BECAUSE of those lines, those strings that draw a digital highway between A and B. It may be a little more trouble to find some people than others, and you might not be able to do certain searches unless you are a law enforcement officer, but you’d better believe that if someone wants to find you badly enough or for the right reasons, they can. You’re not safe, you’re not anonymous, and you shouldn’t put anything publically out there you wouldn’t be okay writing on your T-shirt.
Once you’ve got those two down, this last one’s important – don’t say something in a preservable digital format if you wouldn’t say it to their face, with figures of authority within earshot. Logs can be saved, screenshots can be snapped, ISPs can be subpoenaed in extreme cases. This goes doubly for threats of physical violence, and triply for threats that call out where and when they will occur. I tangled with an unfortunately misguided person this morning who felt he was protected from retribution – by his incomprehensible grammar, his X-box live, or his general obliviousness I don’t know – but he said a few things that constituted a threat to an industry person of note I happen to know. This was unacceptable, not only for Sinnamon, but for the sake of all the performers out there…by performing, you are only agreeing to show your body to those that purchase your videos, pictures, or subscriptions – you are NOT agreeing or expected to endure harrassment, unwanted advances, or physical threats. Ever.
If this is happening to you on twitter, performer or not, don’t stand for it. People like the harassing tweeter who are not nipped in the proverbial bud will only get more vocal…and it may escalate to something worse and much more real if left unchecked.