Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sites To Ruin One's Reputation: Friends, Colleagues, Family And Exes

As if social media space wasn’t freaky enough. With all the sites, social networks and blogs out there, it’s unlikely there is nothing that’s impossible NOT to find on the Internet. From very freaky, absurd and sexually-explicit sites to mom's&pop's, dating, cooking and lifestyle blogs. However, the question is, how far we CAN go? Or, how far we SHOULD go?

A few days ago a long time friend of mine contacted me and shared something that I found very disturbing. He told me: “Google John Smith’s name [John Smith is not a real name – for confidential purposes] and tell me what you find and what you think about your findings…” 

John Smith was someone who used to hang out with us in the same "circle" back in the days. He was a rather odd ball. Despite his "oddness", we did figure him all out and built a particular opinion about him long time ago. Then we all moved out of a “circle” and lost touch. Years passed...

That’s why I was rather curious to see what is out there on John Smith that might shock me. (Just a decade ago it would have been impossible to imagine that Internet would not only have such power over us, but that it would hold us accountable for our actions FOREVER. That’s why, every time you post something on a blog, exchange something with a friend over social networks, and/or comment on someone’s material online – it’d be set-and-stoned forever, so, think twice before making yourself “immortal” on the Internet for years to come...)
So, I googled, and I came across many mentions of his name that were coming from the site DontDateHimGirl.
Not that I didn’t find it amusing to read the correspondence between the women who, apparently, all dated him and all had something nasty to tell about him - with most of which I did agreed to a degree as far as I knew him as a friend - but what was a surprising finding for me were not the comments – it was the site itself. 

I realized how little I knew about what’s out there on the Internet. Moreover, I started to google myself (believe it or not – I have not done it in the past) and was afraid that I might find something that would jeopardize my good “standing” with my personal and professional worlds. Thank god – I didn’t find any “cases” on myself, and why would I, if I’ve been always a law-abiding and decent person… But how many of you out there who might have left a “nasty” footprint” online that would hunt you for life? Check it now, before proceeding with your career and family.

Knowing now what the Internet is capable of with a help from a human being, I was astonished to see how surprised CNN and NBC correspondents acted today when they talked about one man’s personal blog The Psycho Ex Wife. (As of today, the content of the site is no longer available due to a lawsuit.)
Yes, it’s sad that some people would go an extra mile as to blog about their very personal – and painful – relationship, but, I would agree with the law – per First Amendment – that ex-husband had a right to this blog. A dad, whose very personal blog called The Psycho Ex Wife, was ordered to shut down by a family court judge, argued that the ruling violates his First Amendment rights.

In late 2007, Anthony Morelli started the blog, describing it as "the true account of a marriage, divorce, and subsequent (child) custody fight between a loving man, his terroristic ex-wife who we suspect suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (at least from our armchair psychologist diagnosis), and the husband's new partner."

In his own words, Morelli told TODAY that he wanted to share this experience with the people who have been experiencing the same scenario and that his main goal in having the blog was "to connect with other people who were going through similarly high-conflict divorce and custody situations."
So, he pursue to write and share his story about custody and child abuse, legal fees (not including the psycho ex wife’s legal bills) and 4-years of litigation.

His wife was described as: “She’s on the precipice of 40 and probably looks all 50-years of it. Imagine if you will, Jabba The Hut, with less personality. She spends her time ... drinking her days away bemoaning her victim status, when she isn’t stuffing the children with fast food, buying them toys, or pushing them towards the TV or computer.

And guess what, the readers of the blog responded. They wrote about their own "PEWs," venting their own frustrations about exes and custody battles. But while legally he can do so, many argue that this kind of “publicity” and “communication” through the blog that can be accessed by anyone from anywhere, could hurt his children.

Psychiatrist Gail Saltz told TODAY’s Matt Lauer that “ at the end of the day, when a couple gets divorced you know the fallout for children. And the only way to try to help to be the healthiest for them is to preserve two good parents, even if they don’t want to be together. But it’s your job to help say to some degree, 'Your mom’s an okay person and loves you.' "

My point is. Internet is a very powerful force. It can be trendy, entertaining and informative, but at the same time – hurtful, abusing and damaging. So, watch out your digital fingerprints the next time you’d want to expose yourself and your life to the millions out there, some of whom might have all the personal interests to use it against you.
Here are a few wacky, weird blogs that I came across:


If you know of any, please share with the rest.

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