Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Awful poem. Untrue. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if a certain speech and language pathologist has those words tattooed on her butt. The trouble is, with how the glorious internet works, we’re not gonna hurt her by hurling words at her, we’re gonna end up helping her (and a certain news site) go laughing all the way to the bank.
If this means nothing to you so far, no worries, move right along 🙂
I love t’internet, social media, blogging. In my current guise, I am a stay-at-home Mum to my gorgeous un-ABA’d autistic daughter, who writes a sometimes crass, sometimes more elevated, blog.
In a past life, I used to work in media; in another, I got paid money to make people climb up Google rankings without spending too much money, mostly by creating content that people wanted to share because that really, really works.
I don’t know it all but I know a bit.
I wrote a poem that went viral once… I’ve been hiding from past clients asking for refunds ever since.
Seriously though, I know enough to ask everyone on Twitter and Facebook and all those who blog about autism to shut the F up about Little Miss Perky Bully and a frankly pretty cheap, low grade not-much-beyond-aggregator news site.
I would never advise people to ignore real-life bullies, that is not the way to go. I would however ask people to ignore, in social media terms:
- a poor quality media site whose main revenue stream is advertising so trade on monthly visit volumes and newsletter audience size, they live for links and shares…
- an awful woman who has been blasting sites like the one mentioned above with various
usefulignorant “thought pieces” over the last few months as she is flogging a really, really bad “let’s get autistic kids talking better” app…
If you must mention them, please don’t use their full Googleable names and please, please don’t link to them.
I know many who have blogged already have angsted over whether to link to the site or individual concerned to further promote them – your gut feel was right – go back, edit your piece, remove the links, it’s worth the effort.
However small a media outlet, I believe there is a responsibility over what you publish. Flagging an article as “someone else’s opinion” (as has been done in this case) is the same as standing by and watching the bully kick the kid’s head in.
Sadly that works for most of the UK tabloid press so I cannot argue that ill-judged and offensive content is enough to stop a publication in its tracks.
However the website in question is small and amateurish. I doubt that their regular audience is that large or influential. They may showboat their stats on an Advertising info page but more telling is the lack of premium advertisers on the home page: none in fact.
More importantly, one of their autistic contributors has recently pulled her support – to be clear: for other reasons but I believe would have definitely done so after this anyway – and hopefully other contributors may now do the same, reducing the publication to just a regurgitator of press releases, and ultimately obscurity and closure.
It doesn’t take much to implode when your revenue is reliant on Google Adwords (I’ve been there and done that too).
The offensive article that they published has garnered in just a few days the same amount of social media shares as their home page has had in its lifetime. The article has about 400+ times the shares and publicity of any of their other content: a perfect example of “any publicity is good publicity”.
This is a perfect example of how sometimes, technologically, it is best to silently turn the other cheek.
As for that terrible woman, any linking to, featuring of, promotion of that sweetheart is way more insidious. She’s got a whole career ahead of her, torturing autistic kids via their ill-informed well-meaning parents. She’s not going away so easily.
Looking at her social media footprint, the flurry of submitted articles to various sites over the past few months, she’s on a mission to make a whole load of money out of her iPad app and become the latest celebrity “professional” in this field. She is going to use the bullying angle over and over to catch attention. She’s been featured in some publications already and I would imagine she’s determined to continue her media assault.
Theoretically I’m neurotypical and I can already feel myself starting to perseverate about her. Honestly: advice on how to have better conversations in the lunchroom? One of the most overwhelming sensory environments that many autistic kids have to bear. Really? My head is filled with nothing but obscenities at the ignorance of it.
…but I’m not going to blog about her, however frustrating that will be. I am not going to give her any link-love or good Google juice. I’m not going to follow her, bookmark her, anything.
The Google algorithms are ever-changing and complex and I’m no expert but to all of you autistic bloggers and tweeters out there, with growing audiences and voices, the sites and people that you choose to link to, individually and en masse, will increasingly benefit from that. As Google’s algorithms “learn” over time that you are an expert voice with regards to autism, as your authority grows, so does the importance of everything you link to.
An awful article, an awful woman, but we must stop fanning the fires that could allow her reputation to grow. On the internet where ‘attention to’ can almost be synonymous with ‘celebration of’, please don’t give her a voice.
Bullying is just awful, devastating. The mis-treatment of autistic kids through widely promoted and seemingly accepted “therapies” is still rife, and sickening. Those conversations need to continue, I don’t disagree with that, but imagine we all managed to kick up such a Twitterstorm on a topic that someone in the popular mainstream media picks up on it: if you had one chance to share one message this year, would it really be this?
Speaking as the mother of an autistic child – don’t tell me what not to do and leave me hanging – tell me what to do. Give me the positives, the right way forward. Tell me the things that help you, I’m neurotypical, I think I’m one of the good ones but I’m still learning that my best guess probably isn’t enough. Give me direction, inspiration and strength to ignore these awful recommendations that bombard me all the time.
She says “I Can Have Conversations With You!™ ” (yes, she even trademarked it, say no more) but we can all say, “No, not on the internet, you can’t”, we’re too busy talking up the good stuff, sharing our success, celebrating neurodiversity, forging the way forward to a positive equal future for everyone.