When I was in the first grade, one of my classmates was a witch and I had no reason not to believe her. Every day on the playground I would swing on the swings and watch her cast spells on the little kids during recess. She never cast one on me.
It was a very scary time in my life for many reasons. One was having been forced to moved to Troy, Michigan from Pennsylvania, where all my Sunday school and Kindergarten friends were. I didn’t know anybody in Troy. This was in the early 1960′s after the Korean War, which was still discussed by the adults around me. Somehow I knew 2 things for sure. I hated war and I hated passing judgment on anyone.
This is why the little witch girl left me alone. I let her be a witch. In fact, I became one of her only friends because I wasn’t afraid of her and I knew enough to not anger a witch who could cast evil spells on first graders.
Print and Photos
By 1968, I had hippie blood. I was 10 years old then. LIFE magazine and a black and white TV were my access to the world. LIFE published the horrors of the VietNam war. One day it arrived with a cover photo of a naked Vietnamese girl running in horror towards the camera. Another time, there was the famous photo of a man being shot point blank in the head. I didn’t care who the man was. He was a human being, just like me. And the girl? I was 10 years old. We were close in age. I was reading about her terror from the comfort of my living room.
I would later read in Readers Digest the story of the Kent State killings and Neil Young became my hero. I hung onto his every word and every song, including “Ohio”. Had I been at Kent State then, I would have been one of those kids fighting the war.
Today, print magazines and newspapers are being replaced with the Internet and I question whether or not this is a good thing. Rarely, if ever, am I moved by anything on the Internet in the same way I was by the old large-paged LIFE magazine. Rarely is there a song by today’s musicians that pains the soul like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s aching “Ohio”, where Neil sings, “What if you knew her and found her lying on the ground.” One of the 19 year old’s who died at Kent State that terrible day was Allison Krause. My daughter is a Krause, and she is also 19.
Today, we know that someone can signal for help via Twitter or Facebook and nobody will respond to help. Some have died.
Internet, Social Networking, Distance and Being Anonymous
It’s been a few weeks since the news came out about the Startup Nation win. I debated whether to permit myself to feel anything at all. Nowadays, there’s this strange confusion over success and sharing it. The mere second someone achieves a goal they fought hard for, there is this odd group of people slithering around waiting to bitch about it. And they can do it because of the Internet.
I admit that I feel like an outcast in this new world where technology has become a weapon rather than a tool for peace. My name, “Cre8pc” means “Create Peace” (everyone now calls it “Create PC”). I saw the potential for creating world peace when I signed on to AOL in 1994. In my naive mind, I thought that if we could talk to one another, we’d learn we are All worth knowing and caring for, no matter where we live.
But this is absolutely NOT what happened with the Internet.
I’ve written several times about the death threats I would get in the 90′s for standing up against rip-off SEO’s. With each personal achievement I made has come some form of hatred from somewhere on the Internet. I’ve had to hide where I live, change the locks on my house, get police protection, get an entire school district alerted to protect my kids from kidnapping, and I even lost a web host because someone said I was a spammer. Which was untrue. I never used that host for email. A representative from that ISP admitted to knowing I never used their email services, “But somebody complained and we had to delete your account.” I found out they did because one day I went to Cre8pc.com and it was not there.
In the Internet world of business, there is no safe place to be. I’ve noticed that more and more of the people who have been in business online as long as I have, no longer are on Twitter or Facebook. Perhaps they are so successful they no longer need talk to anyone or promote their products, services or sites. Or, maybe they get the same odd things I do, like blog comments from fake email addresses (such as Microsoft) that are intended to destroy confidence. Mine come in the form of “Your fat” and/or “Your ugly.”
I’m also paying for my daughter’s college and son’s braces, their Dad was layed off and they’re laying off where my husband works and we never know from day to day how long he will have a job. I have a lot of pressure on my plate, but nobody cares about that. They don’t want to know about that. They want to destroy, hurt, and do whatever it takes to reduce someone they dislike into a target for hatred. They mistakenly think I have it made or have somehow done something to them. As if I could possibly have the time to hunt for anyone to tear down. Nor would or could I. But you’d have to know me to know that.
We Are No Closer
This is what amazes me. I felt closer to my world when it came to me via print. Books and magazines helped form my beliefs. I didn’t need religion to know it’s wrong to kill anyone and of course, it is the religious who find the reasons to go to war. I didn’t have a reason to pick on the witch in first grade. So what if she was different? So. What.
If she were to go on the Internet and be herself, she would find other witches and find comfort with that, I suppose. She would also be subjected to the types of people who complain every day about something. Those who consistently bitch attract others who do, and I can’t understand where the thrill is for them. How can pushing people away be a good thing?
We Are Not Doing Better
I live near the town where the woman faked an abduction with her daughter so she could go to Disneyworld in Florida. This woman claimed to have been kidnapped by “two black men”. So many things are wrong with this, beginning with her stereotyping people and passing her bias onto to her daughter. Another is the media hoopla. The event was on Twitter, Facebook, TV and newspapers and will be covered in news magazines. Initially, the media was focused on the little girl and put out an Amber alert. This is a good thing. But because of our ability to spread news so quickly, this became an “important” story and an even juicier one since it turned out to be a hoax. The woman can claim it was hormones that made her lose her judgment and call it a day.
We’ve created a situation where there is no need to take responsibility and being anonymous offers the freedom to do and say anything.
This isn’t what I had hoped for when I chose the Internet as my base for doing business. I understood and accepted from the start that I would be working and corresponding with people from around the world, from all walks of life. I work hard for anybody and a good portion of my work comes from referrals and return clients. There has to be a very strong element of trust when conducting business on the Internet. Claims have to be proven, but sadly, they are not. Many businesses and people are presumed guilty and have to prove their innocence, rather than the other way around. Search engines and social media web sites have been turned into weapons of mass destruction and reputation management manipulation.
I don’t like where the Internet is going and how social networking is separating and dividing people rather than bringing them together.
In so many ways, I’m reminded of our songs from the 60′s and 70′s. It was so easy and popular to laugh at those who danced and died for “peace and love”, but they were fighting for the right things.
Some of us always will.