As a digital immigrant, I didn’t really know much about online safety when I started Rucksack Rosie using a pseudonym in 2012. My aims were to celebrate the life of my late mother and to remind myself that beauty and kindness still existed in the world. I wanted to connect with outdoor people who are normally excluded from outdoor debates. Naively I thought that is what the internet was for.
Because of this, I didn’t know how to react or who to turn to when my sites were targeted by cyberstalkers, malware and organised trolling following a terrible trip out with a stranger on Twitter to Wideopen Hill in 2014.
For 5 years I made repeated attempts to refer the Twitter gang to my personal site for information and news, but the main thing I have learned is that trolls like them can’t, or won’t, read. After my studies in 2016, issues from the same people flared up again when I mentioned that my application had been accepted for the TGO challenge, and their sheer unpleasantness resulted in my withdrawal from the event.
This was soon followed by another outburst from a couple of people from the same group (without even knowing the circumstances) when I mentioned that I had made a call to Mountain Rescue for advice during a walk in memory of a relative.
This group seem to have nothing better to do with themselves than to wreak emotional devastation on Twitter. After haranguing me for over two years, they eventually pressured me into disclosing private information which was really off topic on this blog. All this finally culminated in a trip to the police and a solicitor in 2017.
All these experiences have changed my approach to blogging and social media, which is ironic on a blog intended to share beauty and kindness. As a result I have put Twitter on hold as I’m not sure it is the right platform for remembering people, beauty, kindness, survivors or fledgling businesses. When I try to balance out the positive contribution it has made to Rucksack Rosie against the emotional damage being caused by trolls, and the lax safety responses from the company involved, the option to come off Twitter became an increasingly tempting one.
Otherwise everything else will hopefully carry on with improved productivity in a less toxic environment. Thanks again to the people who have stopped by. It means a great deal to me.
Postscript: After taking advice from various people, I finally came off Twitter completely in February 2020, having ceased to enjoy the experience at all some time ago. For those who are not here for the outdoor content and are still sniffing around for personal info, I wrote a post about the backstory to this blog in December 2019. I am now hoping to rediscover the pleasure in walking which drew me to blog about it in the first place. Names of trolls available on request.