I don't know Kathy Sierra personally, but I certainly respect her work as a blogger and feel ashamed that our happy little social media collective otherwise known as the blogosphere has come to this point. For those who don't know, Kathy has been the recipient of lewd and lascivious personal attacks as well as outright death threats.
The outpouring of support for Kathy and the other victimized blogger has been tremendous; which is good to see in a blogosphere that of late seems more focused on protecting one's turf and flame wars than the communal "one for all, all for one" aspects that drew so many early bloggers into the medium.
While I certainly wish Kathy well and hope her tormentors are brought to justice in whatever way the law allows, I must admit some apprehension in blogging about this topic. Looking at Techmeme today, I can't help but wonder if we're doing EXACTLY what Kathy's hecklers wanted in the first place.
Are we feeding the frenzy? There's truth to the adage "never let them see you sweat" and I wonder if the attention this situation garners ultimately does more harm than good? I hope not.
Blogging is about the conversation; or at least it should be. If stories like this continue to crop up it's going to have far-reaching negative consequences:
- People new to blogging are going to potentially be put off from jumping into the blogosphere
- Established voices, many of our most intelligent and creative, are going to leave or, at the very least, become less active
- The conversational aspects of blogging [i.e., trackbacks, comments, cross-linking] are going to become more regulated
As the reach of social media expands beyond early adoption into near omnipresence, we unfortunately have no choice but to brace ourselves for the darker side of human interaction; or INhuman interaction as the case may be. But let's not let that ills of a relative few curtail the power of the many.
To Kathy and all my fellow bloggers, be well.