Stalker

This Blogging Shit Is No Joke

Jose Vilson Jose 16 Comments

Stalker

Stalker

Well, first, you’re going to have to excuse me for my terse language, but fuck it. If you’re subscribed, you know how I roll. The title of this post came from my reaction after reading a pair of prominent bloggers’ posts and almost made me jump out of my seat. Not because of the shock and awe so much as it’s like I’ve been telling people for almost 5 years now: this blogging shit is no joke.

I mentioned this in my top 10 omissions back in January 1st, but it’s worth repeating: people really don’t think that my writing translates into actual interactions with human beings. I’m not here hiding behind my desktop / laptop: I’m actually writing whatever it is I’m feeling, and whether that makes people laugh, cry, scream, clench their fists, or … feel any other tingling sensation, I know that I can back that up in person. I mean, as a writer, my main objective is for that human connection, and it’s helped me meet tons of people and given me plenty of opportunities, but it’s also made me see the ugliness that comes from my own “popularity.” (Whatever that word means).

I remember five years ago, when I just started blogging, and I had a few responses to my Xanga blog (OK, maybe more than some), some of my closest friends took exception to everything I wrote. Yes, sometimes I got a little personal, but even when I wrote something simple like “I want this for Christmas, it became an event like, “So you think people are actually going to give you these gifts?” Or even when I’d thank people for commenting, it was “Well, I don’t need to thank anyone, unlike other bloggers.” Huh? No. I’m just writing. Even into these days, while most of my friends and family members have thrown their support behind me, even they get confused about this personality I’ve developed online. Is this the Jose I knew from Xavier? Syracuse? A little after that?

Probably not.

This blog has been my mantelpiece of reflection, and has helped me grow by taking a mirror to me and saying, “Is that really what you look like?” But sometimes, people confuse that with something else. I personally can’t call it jealousy, but two situations recently told me a little differently.

First, from Necole Bitchie:

I’ve been getting alot of emails lately from people upset that I don’t respond to them in a timely manner (on facebook, myspace & twitter). My goal is to respond to everyone but my slow response is due to SPAM, most coming from independent artists. I try to listen to everything when I get a chance but some folks are relentless. Just yesterday alone, I made the mistake of responding back to an artist name Glendell and in a span of five minutes I received a total of 20 emails from him. I deleted each one but I logged into twitter later that day to see that he had sent me atleast 20 more messages. Dude, with the exception of this time, this is NOT the way to get your music played on a blog!! You are Deranged. You are CRAZY..now f*ck off! *

Read the rest of the blog. Now you have independent artists trying to come after bloggers’ throats because they want their record played? Really? People really take liberties with our lives. Yes, I get it: she’s a celebrity blogger so she’s always finding criticism with celebs. She should be able to get it too. Yet, there’s a part of me that, after reading the comments from the creep, made me feel like she may have been in danger for her life.

Don’t believe me? Michael Arrington of TechCrunch begs to differ:

Something very few people know: last year over the summer an off balance individual threatened to kill me and my family. He wasn’t very stealthy about it – he called our office number, sent me emails and even posted threats on his blog, so it wasn’t hard to determine who he was. The threats were, in the opinion of security experts we consulted, serious. The individual has a felony record and owns a gun. Police in three states became involved and we hired a personal security team to protect me, my family and TechCrunch employees.

Arrington’s post is a must-read for anyone blogging. Regardless of what writing niche you develop, when you become successful, whether the Internet or otherwise, things inevitably change, and sometimes in dramatic fashion. Maybe we need to rethink how we think about blogging, too.

Maybe.

Jose, whose gotten a full range of e-mails in his own right …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 16

  1. Odara

    wow that’s crazy…and the funny thing is I understand why some bloggers prefer the option of anonymity…thank God i haven’t experienced anything even comparable to such…

    I think the weirdest thing I’ve experienced is this weird guy finding me on EVERY social network i’m on…even the ones that I thought were private…just goes to show nothing is really PRIVATE on the internet…

    I think some ppl have a problem differentiating reality vs fiction…which leads to questionable behavior such as cyber stalking…lol

  2. Aaron

    Being popular is often looked upon for the social bonuses, you know the elitism and networking opportunties.

    Yet you make a good point – every blogger trying to “make it big” or “be popular” needs to step back, read these stories, and ask him or herself what can be done to safeguard against these type of stalker situations.

    Unfortunately, with the web constructed as it is, I don’t think we will ever see 100% protection. It’s the unfortunate side effect of having such a large user base – for every 1,000 visitors perhaps 900 won’t care what you write, 99 will care to agree or disagree, and 1 will just go irrationally crazy trying to make a counterpoint.

    One thing I hope will happen in 2009 and onward due to these stalker problems is that 1) bloggers will think a bit before they hit “publish” and 2) law enforcement for internet crimes get a much deserved increase in funding and authority.

    Stay safe Jose, I know you have the potential to tick off more then your fair share of readers. lol.

  3. James V.

    In reality this situation is no different than having a fresh pair of Tims, a hot track/album, a hot car or woman or any other type of up to date sh*t. Similar to blogging, a fashion statement is a form of expression. I wear Phat Farm when my bro José rocks Izod. Either way, some where in some mofo’ twisted mind, he/she may not like that fact that we look fresh to death [Vilson curse…yes sirr!] that’s what we call “mental challenge”. So, are we supposed to live in fear of beig able to stand out from the crowd? or delivering that next dose of truth the “blog killah” aka TheJLV will spit daily? Blogging (in my opinion) is an expression of new ideas or a different perspective on any common/uncommon issue. Unfortunately some will never get it. IT’S OKAY NOT TO AGREE WITH EVERY M*F*CKING YOU READ/HEAR. Get your facts straight and come back with a response to what you’ve just read. Or simply move on. But guess what? Due to the fact a similar mofo (stated previous) may lack the imagination to rock the lattest rhyme or come up with that “fresh to death idea” he/she could in fact display his/her lattest accomplishment: a P.H.D. Player Hatter Degree.

  4. Post
    Author
    Jose

    Odara, social networks are definitely dangerous, too. After a while, it gets really easy to know who is who, and how. While it’s good to keep those networking options, there is a weirdness about putting one’s whole self out there for the world to read. Takes some cojones.

    Which leads me to my last 2 commenters. (I completely agree with you, Aaron, btw).

    It’s not about being scared about expressing one’s opinion. Please understand: people like Necole Bitchie and Michael Arrington (and I for that matter) work in different fields of writing. I don’t think we need to be careful about what we say per se. This was more a reflection about people’s averse responses to the things we write or say. I mean, from my understanding, Arrington’s gotten into some tiffs, but dude’s not saying anything too controversial. At least not to the point where people want to kill him. You’re both right in that we can say what we want to (as long as we’re willing to face the repercussions), but there’s a degree of response that’s acceptable, and murder and physical intimidation is not that. I can accept the “you suck” or “fuck you” every so often, but calling a woman a ho for not wanting to put out your music or befriending you on MySpace? ::psh:: People need to stop getting it twisted.

  5. brran1

    This is probably one of the reasons why I enjoy Semi-Anonymity. I’ve had the chance to meet up and chill with several bloggers. However, I’m greatful for the fact that if and when I do recieve threats…short of stalking my university, I doubt someone would be able to track me down.

    It’s a catch 22 though. I’ve wanted to start video-blogging for awhile now and I actually have pics that I want to post. Oh well.

    On another note, I have a question for you (Jose) and for all the other educators that read your blog: What constitutes a good Math teacher? When I ask that question, I mean, which style of teaching or way of conveying new ideas and practice methods makes one a good Math Teacher?

  6. Joel

    Dude, you suck.

    No, I think this kind of paranoia is part of why I have tried to maintain relative anonymity with my blog. It wouldn’t take too much effort for some cyber stalker to figure out who I am if they had a few hours to devote to doing it, but it also would be easier to stalk someone else. Say, José Vilson, who goes and puts his full name up there. :)

    I don’t write anything controversial on my blog (unless you disagree with the need to keep kids focused and keep them on task during classes), so I really have nothing to hide, but at the same time, I like the relative freedom I have knowing that it will take a bit of effort to track me down if someone really tried to do so.

  7. Joel

    Tried posting a comment earlier, but it didn’t work. Of course I forgot to copy it so I could paste it. Oh well…

    I have considered going completely non-anonymous, but I prefer to may my online stalkers work a bit harder for their kicks. Or just let them get tired of trying to find me and go to someone like you who publishes their name for the whole world. ;)

    brran1, as I see it a good math teacher is one whose students learn the concepts! Whatever that means as far as teaching methods and practices and whatever, if they learn the material, you’ve done your job. If they enjoy the class, you’ve cemented yourself as one of the best memories they will ever have!

  8. Clay Burell

    I’m not scared of these whack-jobs.

    I don’t have to be. They’d have to come to Korea (Singapore starting in the summer) to get me. And I doubt they have the time or plane fare. ‘-)

  9. Post
    Author
    Jose

    Oh no. My life hasn’t been threatened yet.

    Wait, check that. That happened a few years ago in my elder blog. Not in this life. Nonetheless, I’m good. Trust, I’m not going to stop blogging. I just find it interesting that while the same people who say they don’t think the Internet is that serious have such averse reactions to the bloggers. That’s all. I’m good, my people, and thanks for asking :-). The people who may need (or already have) a cop on their side are in the post.

    Joel, that math teacher post will definitely come up soon.

    Stop thread-jackin’, brran!!!! hahaha

  10. Villager

    Deep shyt! I haven’t been blogging as long as you … nor am I as personal in my posts (probably something I need to deal with this year). Anyhow, thanx for sharing your thoughts…

    peace, Villager

  11. Pingback: Open Thread: What Makes a Good Math Teacher?

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