I am the third stop in the Internet Famous Raincoast Books blog tour in celebration of the release of Danika Stone’s book.
Internet Famous ($15.99, Raincoast Books, Swoon Reads) follows the story of Internet sensation Madison Nakama, who has it all. Her pop-culture re-watch site has a massive following, and fans across the world wait on her every post and tweet. And now Laurent, a fellow geek (and unfairly hot French exchange student), has started flirting with her in the comments section of her blog. But Laurent’s not the only one watching for Madi’s replies. Internet fame has a price, and their online romance sparks the unwanted attention of a troll. When Madi’s “real life” hits a rough patch, she feels her whole world crumbling. With Laurent’s support, can Madi rally her friends across the globe to beat the troll, or will he succeed in driving her away from everything – and everyone – she loves?
While I want Book Time to do well, I am not certain I want it to be as famous as Madison Nakama’s blog with fans across the world waiting on my every post and tweet.
Who wants that much pressure, and who wants to be connected that much?
I found Madison’s constant social media presence rather tiring (you got to read the story through typical narrative as well as test messages, twitter and re-blogs). While I think you can have connections via social media, I feel face-to-face meetings and actually talking to people is always better. As such I wanted to grab Madison’s phone, and throw it out the window.
While Laurent seems to understand the importance of meeting people, and actually met Madison several times during the book, (as a side note, I can’t imagine allowing my teenager to go into New York City by herself to meet her Internet fans. I find that completely irresponsible, and stupid on the part of her parents) the pair start flirting in the comments section of Madison’s blog, which sparks the unwanted attention of a troll, whose presence I find really annoying.
What is the point of a troll? What do they get out of that behaviour, and why bother? It seems like wasted energy to show that much hate to people.
I was also frustrated with Madison’s parents, particularly her mother who seems to care more about her career and her own needs then that of her children, particularly the younger sister Sarah. I found Madison’s forced responsibility of her sister awful and very upsetting.
Danika Stone speaks the truth of trolls: guest post
By Danika Stone
A few weeks ago I started my promotions for Internet Famous. I set up a Thunderclap announcement and emailed a number of people to ask them to participate. Most of these were close personal friends – many of them writers – but a few others were those I knew from online forums. My email invitation was polite. (I’m Canadian, after all.) A few of those people asked questions and I answered in an equally polite tone. So I was shocked when one such conversation ended in an enraged rant.
I remember opening the guy’s message and staring at it. My heart began to pound. My hands grew sweaty. Words popped out: “ignorant”, “f***ing twit”, “stupid idea”. It was language so harsh I felt like I’d been slapped. Something in our conversation had sparked his anger, but I could barely understand his response. Logically, I knew what it was: a quick power-grab, something common in males who troll their female counterparts.
As I stared at the message – trying to make sense of his attack – it struck me that THIS was why I wrote Internet Famous: to give a voice to those people staring at their screen, horrified.
What I faced that day is something that I’ve seen many times before. People online who take offense at something one has done (in my case, I’d responded to him in a way that seemed insincere) and who take their negative response to an extreme. Studies show that while men, in general, receive more trolling online, their female counterparts receive far higher levels of threatening behavior, more severe harassment, stalking and serious abuse from their trolls.
The nameless aspect of the Internet exacerbates the situation. In trying to promote a book that decries trolling, I’d inadvertently stepped right into the role I’d written about.
The experience left me thinking about what women experience online, and how the bullying has shifted in tone, leaving many of us facing emotional abuse that is just as damaging as its physical counterpart.
I was shaken that night, but I didn’t let it stop me. I reached out to the writing community I’d grown to love. I spoke to several close friends – all of whom I’d met online – and I reminded myself of what’s important: that the Internet is a tool and the tool does what we ask of it.
I am willing to take the risk (though I protect myself from trolls as much as I can) because the vast majority of my online interactions are wonderful and supportive. The writing community on Twitter is fiercely supportive. I’m a better writer because of them! I’ve met many of my readers online, and that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. It’s a balance, but for now I’m still on the right side and for that I’m grateful! Internet Famous is my ode to them: the online friends who support one another when one of their group is attacked.
Now, let’s turn it back to you… Have you ever been the victim of trolling? Please comment below and tell us how you dealt with it.