As a digital immigrant, I didn’t really know much about online safety when I started Rucksack Rose using a pseudonym in 2012. My aims were to celebrate the life of my late mother and to remind myself, after her long illness, that beauty and kindness still existed in the world. I wanted to connect with other outdoor people, particularly people who are normally excluded from outdoor debates. Naively I thought that is what the internet was for, and not for savaging people in a way that seems to have become unique to Twitter.
Because of this, I didn’t know how to react or who to turn to when these sites were targeted by malware and organised trolling. I made repeated attempts to refer people to my personal site but one thing I have learned is that trolls can’t or won’t read. After my Masters in 2016, issues from the same people flared up again on these sites when I mentioned that my application had been accepted for a well known challenge event, and their sheer unpleasantness resulted in my withdrawal from the event. This was soon followed by another outburst from a couple of people from the same group (without even knowing the circumstances) when I mentioned that I had made a call to Mountain Rescue for advice during a walk in memory of a relative.
This group just seemed intent on wreaking personal devastation, and eventually pressured me into disclosing private information which was really off topic on this blog. All these experiences have changed my approach to blogging and social media, which is ironic on a blog intended to share beauty and kindness. As a result I have put Twitter on hold for the moment.
Increasingly when I tried to balance out any positive contribution Twitter was making to Rucksack Rose against the personal damage being caused by trolls, and the lax safety responses from the company involved, moving off Twitter became an easy decision.
Otherwise all is good, and everything else will hopefully carry on as usual.