The scary part about being an online personality is stuff like this.
As I type this, I am supposed to be in San Diego, delivering a workshop at the ETech conference. But I’m not. I’m at home, with the doors locked, terrified. For the last four weeks, I’ve been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that’s not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs… blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers.
Let’s not blame this on the bloggers though, I mean, this kind of stuff has been going on in message boards and private online communication for years before blogging.
As Mathew points out:
As we have all found out to one extent or another â€” whether through blog comments, or email flame wars, or blog posts about us â€” the anonymity of the Internet has a tendency to free people from their inhibitions, as James Robertson also notes. That can be a good thing, but it can also be a very bad thing. People will write things that they would never think of saying to someone in person, or saying if their identity could be discovered.
While I’ve never had a death threat online, I’ve been Google-bombed and called an asshole countless times and a slew of other nasty Internet encounters that I’ve since forgotten. But a death threat of the likes as mentioned above? Truly, truly frightening. So frightening that even Scoble is freaked out.
It makes you wonder if it’s worth it to maintain such a public profile?