Ever wonder how much it takes to break someones reputation?


Just 2 Tweets

I think the answer is different for everyone but for me it only took 2 tweets.

Two tweets from an anonymous account that have only ever tweeted two tweets. Two tweets which both have to do with me. Two tweets from a person with a fake profile picture. Two tweets from a profile that in the description only contains a link to a pornography website.

You would think a profile like this wouldn’t be taken seriously but it was and they just had to send two tweets accusing me of plagiarism to get my article taken down.

One of the reasons I love the internet is because you can reinvent yourself and become who you want to be. If I manipulate my SEO enough I can get my blog to come up when terms like “princess”, “mom blog”, and “most awesome person ever” are typed into search engines. Then people believe it because they saw it on the internet so it must be true right?

You can also find tons of information online. You can learn about dinosaurs without leaving your bed, the Civil War while clipping your toenails, and you can research if your poop is normal while you are pooping. It’s amazing. You can also find embarrassing pictures of people you hate online, maybe you can even find out where they live, and best of all you can write them anonymous mean messages and ruin their reputation all without having to leave your home or even change your underwear. The internet has allowed lazy and shy people to be bullies without having to leave the comfort of their own home.

I used to really care what people said about me online. It hurt. There’s something about seeing something on a computer screen and being able to look at it over and over again. When someone says something mean about you to your face it disappears. When it is said online it is right in front of you. Online words are even meaner than words in newspapers and magazines. In these sources the words have to be printed, distributed, and purchased. Online the words can be posted in seconds by a hysterical angry person who has been wearing the same pajamas for months, hasn’t left their house in a year, and talks to a stuffed cat.

All this makes people feel like they know everything about complete strangers. You start looking at pictures of your ex-boyfriend’s family on facebook. You haven’t seen him in 10 years but you know the names of his wife and kids and what they look like. You know exactly what your favorite celebs have done today and might even get to see what they look like when they get their coffee. All of this makes you feel like you know these people when really you don’t. You know them about as much as they know you because you are well… anonymous.

After, I stopped allowing myself to be hurt by anonymous I became flattered. Anonymous must spend a ton of time thinking about me because from the looks of it all they do is write mean things about me online. It must take a long time to create and maintain all those fake accounts. I never thought I would be put in the same category as the Olsen twins… even if it is for negative reasons. Anonymous could be spending time feeding the hungry, saving abandoned animals, or finally brushing their teeth and washing those pajamas they have been wearing for months. But no they spend all day writing about me so I must be awesome.

True or not this is what I told myself to get through the day without letting the negativity get to me. It worked really well and I was proud of myself.

Last week I wrote an article about flying with my daughter. If you read my blog you know how horrible it has been for me to travel with my kid. I get nervous every time we go on a trip. I was also unable to blog or go online at all last week because I had a slim to none internet connection. So when I saw one tweet on my iPhone from Anonymous accusing me of plagiarizing Conor Grennan’s article for The Huffington Post I was too busy to care. I knew I didn’t copy his article and my readers would too because they knew I couldn’t even stay on the internet enough to blog. I also recognized anonymous’ profile picture, knew who the person was from their followers, and was surprised they only had one tweet. Come on Annonymous… I know you are more clever than that!

When I received the second tweet I was interested so I read the article. The article was about flying with kids and in letter form, but other than that they are completely different. Comedians and writers often talk about the same topics but what makes them unique is how they talk about it. Jay Leno and David Letterman often talk about the same current events on their respective shows. If talking about the same topic is plagiarism than every writer could be considered a plagiarizing copy cat. Parents often talk about flying with kids because flying with kids is TORTURE. Conor Grennan is not the first writer to talk about flying with kids and he definitely won’t be the last.

So I shrugged these accusations off. Anonymous included The Huffington Post in this tweet as well but I wasn’t worried because I figured they must get a ton of crazy tweets from Anonymous as well but are too busy to take them seriously.

Unfortunately, not everyone agreed with me and my article was taken down within an hour of the tweets being tweeted. I was never blatantly accused of plagiarism by the website that published the article but the damage was already done. When people asked me why the link to my article didn’t work I didn’t have a good answer. I re-published the article on my blog.

It’s amazing how in 140 characters or less you can do something that can majorly effect someone’s life and reputation. The abrupt removal of my article made me decide to stop writing for the comedy website. I don’t want to work with people who trust anonymous more than me. But don’t worry I will still be writing about all my Shannonigans. I will just be doing it here where I can deal with anonymous on my own terms.

Stay Glamorous,

Shannon Sutherland

P.S. I can’t wait to see what Anonymous will say about this post but please first put on a new pair of pajamas because you are starting to really smell and I feel bad for your stuffed cat 🙂

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26 Responses to “2 TWEETS”

  1. Karen Dent September 25, 2012 at 3:14 PM #

    OMG anonymous needs to get a life! I read your article and loved it! It had me laughing, and it was nice to see that you were able to take something that has been stressful for you and laugh about it. I am sorry you went through this. As amazing as the Internet is, it also has its negative side. I think too many people get caught up in being mean and forget that there is a real person on the receiving end, and not just a computer screen. Having been on the receiving end, I know how much it sucks. Sadly for me my bully was my best friend of 8 years and she still lives across the street from me.

    • Shannon September 25, 2012 at 7:19 PM #

      That sucks that you live so close to your bully 🙁

  2. felicia September 25, 2012 at 3:14 PM #

    oh good lord this is awful in a way kida stalkerish i think that a person would act like this i love your stories and articles and( i promise i am freshly showered and in jeans) but yes all mothers could say the exact same thing when traveling with a child and i think thats not copying someone else its that we are good mothers who say the same thing blow it off babe some peoples whole day is made by ruining someone elses day

    • Shannon September 25, 2012 at 7:19 PM #

      Thanks Felicia. I think all the people who like my me shower and don’t stay in their pjs all day 🙂

  3. Lisanne September 25, 2012 at 3:15 PM #

    So nicely said, Shannon! It’s sad that it all happened, but I’m glad you didn’t let all that stuff get to you. For me, it’s a sign of strength!!! I absolutely adore your P.S… Some people need to get a life… outside and off their computer/smart phones…

  4. snarkysarcasticbish September 25, 2012 at 3:18 PM #

    Oh honey, I am so sorry. I wondered what was going on. Yea, I know that I so know all them celebrities cause I have pictures to prove it *wink* I hate that this has happened to you. But keep in mind, you are stronger than anonymous and have followers that love and care for you, no matter what they do or say. Please know that I am here for ya and will always keep reading. I know I don’t always comment, but I do read. Keep up the great work. Don’t let others rule what you think or do. Love ya lots!!!!!

  5. melissa September 25, 2012 at 3:31 PM #

    I am so sad about this. I’m assuming this person is one of the same people that have been on the fringes, behaving like complete and utter morons since the beginning. I personally thought that your article was a funny and honest view of someone travelling with children. I never had that “pleasure” and am not really sad that I missed all the fun. I have always enjoyed the Shannonigans articles and am thrilled to hear they will continue even if they are in on a different site or where ever you happen to put them.

    Jealousy is an ugly thing and these people are jealous of your success, of your relationship with your friends and with having a life outside in the real world. I have said many times that Anon should get mental help and I sincerely hope they do. I have my doubts as to whether they will. In their twisted, mixed-up world, we’re all the interlopers and should leave them and their fantasy partner alone.

    Many hugs to you, The Husband and Princess A.

  6. Melody September 25, 2012 at 6:14 PM #

    That’s bull crap! It’s messed up that they took your article down especially considering you are the real source for it and the other person is some random jerk who has nothing better to do than try to ruin someone else’s life/day.

    • Shannon September 25, 2012 at 7:14 PM #

      I know they said I could change it and republish it but they took it down without talking to me first which I felt was really unfair because then when people asked where the article was I had to explain it to them.

  7. Conor Grennan September 26, 2012 at 2:10 AM #

    Hey Shannon – this is Conor Grennan, who’s article you supposedly plagiarized. I’m just stunned that somebody did that to you. I read your article, which I absolutely loved. I could have written it myself (well, if I was a better writer I could have written it myself), because EVERY parent on the planet could have written that. You captured the sentiment of parents on planes exactly.

    I’m so sorry that some jerkwad (should that have a hyphen? Spell check isn’t loving it…) made that accusation. I know moments like this can be tough as a writer, and I’m sorry you had to go through something so infuriating. Your posts are awesome.

    • Shannon September 26, 2012 at 7:40 AM #

      Thanks Conor. That means a lot to me! Well, the good news is I found another cool fellow writer out of it!

  8. Nadine September 26, 2012 at 5:33 AM #

    This is unbelievable! I’m sorry for you. It’s a pity you don’t write for the comedy side anymore, but somewhat understandable. If they trust other people (People who are too cowardly to use their real name), than you, then it’s probably the best decision. 🙁

    • Shannon September 26, 2012 at 7:39 AM #

      That’s how I feel but It still pissed me off but I am sure I will look back on this and not care 🙂

  9. Dijana September 26, 2012 at 8:30 AM #

    Ah, the joys of living in our modern times! I had said it on several occasions, and now I’m actually seriously thinking about it: to start charging for whatever comes out of my mouth… the good, the bad AND the ugly.
    You have a very valid point here about people thinking that they know everything about someone online or a celebrity. Gossip mills are making sure of that.
    What most people do not realize is, that you can’t actually know a person on the basis of what they have written or was written about them.
    For example, I do like you on the basis of what you have written, but that doesn’t automatically say that we would be BFF’s if we were living a street apart. Secondly, if you have a bone to pick with someone, go straight to them instead of airing the dirty laundry on the Internet. (I’m using ‘you’ as a general term, not a particular person.)
    So, you have shared parts of your life that were moment in time. I cannot seriously start judging your persona or character on that. Heck, if someone hears when I’m ‘arguing’ with my dog, they would think that I’m the Devil incarnate. I go as far as saying that I’ll cut off his tail and hang him with clothes pegs by the ears. What do you think of me, huh?
    What people won’t know (based on my outburst), is that I’m all bark and no bite (when it comes to my dog). The worse punishment my dog has received was no treat before bedtime because he tinkled on my cupboard door.
    This brings me to my point, that some folks are in desperate need of a thing called LIFE. Instead of caring where Mr. Cruise buys his coffee, they should care about things that matter. Knowing where he gets his coffee doesn’t do you any favors.
    Instead of trying to accuse anyone of something that they might or might not have done, folks should start with the reflection that stares at them from the mirror. Yep, charity begins at home and also, common sense and minding your own business.
    So, don’t go bashing a person around just because you’re jealous, without talent or lack the thing called LIFE. Trust me cupcake, you do have skeletons in your closet and being anonymous doesn’t last long. There are people that actually know how to find out stuff!
    As usual, sorry for the rant, but maybe, just maybe some lurker will read it and get a LIFE.
    Kudos to the Conor dude for clearing out rumors!

    • Shannon September 26, 2012 at 9:37 AM #

      Thanks Dijana, I love your rant but I feel bad because my first thought after reading it was… I would really like a cupcake lol

      • Dijana September 26, 2012 at 9:43 AM #

        Just imagine that the cupcakes are stale and the wish will go away. Although…there’s no such a thing as stale chocolate :s or stale cupcakes for that matter 🙂

        • Shannon September 26, 2012 at 10:27 AM #

          Agreed, I might have to split a mini one with Amelia later today 🙂

  10. gemma September 27, 2012 at 7:26 AM #

    Oh my…..sorry to hear Shannon…..I love your blog, I love your photos, i love your advice….don’t ever give up writing please….you make me smile and that’s what life is all about. Big hugs from Rockport, MA.

    • Shannon September 27, 2012 at 7:53 AM #

      Thanks Gemma 🙂

  11. Donna September 27, 2012 at 7:27 AM #

    Sorry to hear this happened to you. But it actually takes more than just “two tweets” to cause an internet provider to remove content. The person who believes their content has been stolen has to file a DMCA notice (basically a cease and desist). This can’t be filed by someone other than the person who is claiming ownership of the content or their legal representative.

    I can’t imagine why wordpress actually took it down the first time though. The only similarity is the subject matter. The writing style is completely different and, overall, your article has a much different tone than the one on Huffington post.

    • Shannon September 27, 2012 at 7:53 AM #

      Thanks Donna. It wasn’t taken down by wordpress though. It was taken down by a female centric comedy website I used to work with. That’s why I was so upset. It would be one thing if the writer or Huffington Post complained but they didn’t. It was just an anonymous person on twitter who tweeted 2 tweets and then they took the article down.

      • Donna September 27, 2012 at 8:21 AM #

        That’s horrible. You’d think that on a web-site with that format they would know that some people are just out to cause drama.

        • Shannon September 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM #

          I know… I was really surprised.

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