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Etiquette Fail: Calling For A Social Media "Attack"

By cecilyk |

Apparently, yesterday actor Alec Baldwin called on his Twitter followers to ”C’mon!! Let’s go all Town Hall on that supreme thinker @michellemalkin. A world class, crypto fascist hater!”

Of course, this was after Michelle Malkin called Alec Baldwin a “hollyweirdo” and made fun of his stance against a politcal issue.

Within a few short hours, Michelle Malkin’s twitter stream was full of some of the most vile, hate filled, racist, sexist, and violent tweets I’ve ever seen all at once.

People. This cannot stand.

Bullying, in any form, and yes, even against someone I disagree with as thoroughly as I disagree with Michelle Malkin, is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that no matter what, allowing Internet attacks to happen without standing against them as a form of cyberbullying is wrong. This means that it’s NOT okay to allow your blog readers to attack one of your detractors in your comment section. It’s not okay to send folks to comment bomb on another blog, even if what they said was horrible. It’s not okay to call on your Twitter followers to attack someone else, no matter what sins they have committed.

Because the heart and soul of the matter is this: we are responsible for our side of the street, no matter what. That means even if someone attacks us first, it’s still not okay to attack back. No. It really isn’t.

This isn’t something I’ve always understood. I used to allow my blog readers to respond to rude people on my blog angrily, insulting their intelligence, their families, and their ideals. I often wrote reactionary blog posts linking to other sites, and sat back and watched while my readers descended on the other site and left lambasting, hateful comments. I’ve belittled detractors in my Twitter stream, and watched while people that followed me slapped them down, publicly.

I’m sorry.

As I’ve seen my social media presence grow I’ve learned the error of my ways. I changed my blog comment policy and stepped in when the comment section went from disagreements to insults. If I disagree with someone on Twitter, I do so as politely as I can, even if I’m passionate about the subject.

I’m not going to claim perfect behavior online, but I’m working on it. I think it’s time we all take a minute when we witness this behavior and take a stand and say, THIS IS NOT OKAY. Even if it’s happening to someone we don’t like. Who’s with me?

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About cecilyk



Cecily Kellogg writes all over the web, including here at Babble for Voices and Tech. She neglects her own blog, Uppercase Woman. Read bio and latest posts → Read Cecily's latest posts →

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22 thoughts on “Etiquette Fail: Calling For A Social Media "Attack"

  1. Evin Cooper says:

    It’s a matter of using your power for good or evil. Bullying is ALWAYS evil.

  2. Susan in the Boonies says:

    Bullying is wrong.

    Torches and pitchforks must be condemned.

    Who’s with me????

    (Kidding. I think you make a great point.)

  3. Robin O'Bryant says:


  4. Betty R @ The Jersey Wife says:

    Society has become too lax in their attitudes toward bullying and though there are movements against bullying children in school & on the net there are few aimed at adults. As human beings we need to keep ourselves in check. I believe in free speech but also believe it can be done respectfully.

    Great post!

  5. mommabrown says:

    i dont know if you read any of my comments about trolls and being a former internet asshole on PSMM – but been there, done that and I won’t go back. I can’t erase anything i’ve said but i can act differently now and in the future. I’m glad more and more ‘big’ voices are stepping up to talk about this.

  6. Jana A says:

    I’m 110% with you on this.

  7. Gypsie says:

    Awesome blog post! Bullying in ANY form is indeed wrong. Thank you.

  8. Barbara | Creative Culinary says:

    I’ve always thought it a bit pathetic…very much like tattling in the schoolyard. I see food bloggers announce to their Twitter stream that someone has taken a photo of theirs hoping to get a full frontal attack on. I’m embarrassed for them; they don’t like the person’s behavior and so in response will behave badly?

    I am most impressed with the writer and commenter who have decided change was necessary; that’s an impressive statement that shows huge personal growth and I for one applaud your honesty about it and your decision to affect that change.

  9. Kristine (Mommy Needs Therapy) says:

    I’ve never agreed with you more Cecily!

    It’s refreshing to see someone with an influential presence in the blog world admit to past discretions and show that they have evolved. I stopped using Twitter because I saw too much bad behavior from the “popular kids.”

    It’s time we act like the grownups we are.

  10. drhoctor2 says:

    Does this apology include @abdpbt ? You had no problem jumping on Heather’s call to pile on less than 8 weeks ago. Or what about me, Cecily? Remember when you deleted my non rude non aggressive comment under the guise of “bullying?” After I protested that you spoke harshly, unfairly and meanly against me to other people without giving me any recourse. I very much doubt your sincerity.Ahh, yes, a sponsor is involved.
    It’s obvious you’ve decided to rebrand as the great Anti-Bully but this will make the third or fourth time you’ve totally misstepped. Baldwin IS responsible for the hatefull things his followers said but Heather is not. Naomi Durnford did NOT slander other people but Saltydroid did ? It seems fairly clear that if you are friendly to the person attacking , then they are not attacking. Your last few posts on this subject and general internet behaviors have been oddly demanding. The only person who needs to live up to your standards online is you. Considering the namecalling and such you still involve yourself in, perhaps a bit more soul searching is in order.

  11. agreewithanonpr says:

    I agree with anonpr who commented that “this is the funniest post ever written by Cecily”. Of course, the comment was removed because if you disagree with Cecily, you are a bully. Cecily, if you stopped aligning yourself with other bloggers who are bullies, constantly snarky about people they don’t even know, and call out the dogs any time anyone disagrees with them, you might have some credibility. Instead, you ride on their coat tails and ignore their extremely bad internet behavior. It’s ironic that you of all people are trying to brand yourself as the anti-bullying blogger. I also might suggest that you really take a look at some of the postings of bloggers that you call “friends”. Ever read Jessica’s hateful post about fat people. Even see Heather post anon photos of other people’s property and make snarky, rude, sexist comments about same? Yeah, thought not. You appear to align yourself with anyone who can help you out by association regardless of their hateful words and behavior. Really, it’s something to think about.

  12. JB McGee says:

    I think in the interest of being adults, you all need to blathering about bullying and harden the f* up. I know how you can handle being “bullied” (sheesh) on the internet. Turn off your computer. Problem solved. Now, go ride a bike.

  13. question says:

    How come deferring opinions are subject to deletion?

  14. question says:

    Michelle Malkin dishes it out as hard as she gives it. Same as Cecily. I have on more than one occasion seen Cecily go on the attack and have her minions follow suit. It’s really hypocritical to stand there all pious and self righteous when you do the same thing. Own it.

  15. anonymous pr girl says:

    Not only was my (non-abusive) comment deleted, but all posts in support of me, and critisizing Cecily were also deleted. So not only is Babble a place that solely exists to post link bait garbage, it’s also a place where you HAVE to agree with the author or be branded a troll. I have never seen this kind of behavior on other professional blogs, where commenters are allowed to call out bloggers. But apparently, not here. Nice work keeping the dialogue open!

  16. jack says:

    hi all, it’s jack, babble’s director of content. wanted to apologize officially for comments being deleted if they didn’t merit it. we are reviewing the comments in question to deem if they were “unduly hostile” (as per our comment policy above), and if not, they will be restored.

  17. drhoctor2 says:

    Jack? I wish to sincerely thank you and express my respect for your loyalty to journalistic integrity as evidenced by the restoration of previously deleted comments..mine among them. Taking issue with statements made by a blogger , which can and SHOULD be factually refuted is absolutely not an act of bullying or trolling or whatever other word of the day used to cover an over sensitivity to any critique. I, quite honestly, felt as if I had been baited into commenting so that @cecilyK could then willfully delete comments which rebutted her statements in a fit of pique. I would never have taken the time to comment had I not believed in your open comment policy. I was flabbergasted to see that ALL dissenting comments had been deleted as I KNEW mine and others had in no way violated any stated and reasonable guidelines.I was dismayed and felt taken advantage of, frankly. While @CecilyK is certainly “allowed” to manipulate the comment area on her personal blog so as to give the appearance of mass agreement with her every utterance, it is absolutely unfair to readers to pull that sort of vindictive nonsense on a commercial site. I am, actually, struck by how surprised I was to see the comments restored and a sincere apology from a content editor here this morning. This tells me ..more commercial internet sites should follow your lead. I thank you for making a commitment to hosting actual dialogue and respecting the intelligence of your users. It’s a shame this seems so unusual.

  18. Melinda says:

    So, one has to wonder… was Cecily the person who was deleting ANY and ALL critical comments here? That’s EXACTLY what she does her on her blog. I really hope that Jack keeps a better eye on her – that stunt would get most people fired. Cecily is known as a control freak. And that kind of serious manipulation of the dialogue here is nothing short of narcissistic propaganda. But, really, isn’t that VERY telling?

    If Babble wants to be taken seriously, they should hire writers based on INTEGRITY and SKILL, not the ability to create drama (and churn out link-bait, as the commenter above mentions). Seriously, these articles lately have been laughable primarily because of the author’s absolute hypocrisy.

    Babble, you COULD be teaching your readers valuable lessons if you’d simply find someone better to write these informational pieces from a real place of experience and with an established track-record. I honestly do not know why your editors cannot see this. Aren’t your writers vetted? Don’t these pieces go through an editorial process?

  19. Sarah says:


    You ARE aware cecily deleted a bunch of comments on her Ittybiz follow-up piece from last week, right? You should check that out.


  20. Barbara | Creative Culinary says:

    I see this behavior constantly in the world of food blogging. You think someone took YOUR recipe (that, by the way, my Grandma used to make), then tell all your Twitter followers to go leave a nasty comment. Such immature behavior is repulsive to me. I would no more instigate a riot on here than I would on my street. Neither one is good form.

  21. robert says:

    personally i disagree 100% with this… as much as cyber bullying may be morally wrong, i feel it fits withing freedom of speech and that we need to take the bad with the good.. But i also feel the same about slander laws.. and i know this opinion will be argued. but if one believes freedom of speech should be absolute then it would go without saying that bad or hurtful speech should be protected just as well

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