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024: Cyber-Bullying, Cyber-Shaming and Digital Resilience: Shame Nation and the War against Online Hate with Sue Scheff

Sue Scheff, Author: Shame Nation

 

I took a short hiatus from creating new episodes, because I have been extremely busy cooking up some new business plans and finishing up the course I have created that helps people grow their businesses through mindset, productivity and communication strategies. 

I had this episode all ready to go, but I delayed, because I wanted to nail the introduction, and I suffered from hopelessly fractured focus.

Today’s topic is all about cyber bullying, cyber shaming and digital resilience.

I can report from the trenches on this critical issue.  As a lawyer, I have represented people who have been sued for defaming others on- line when they legitimately complained in a Rip-Off report.  I have also had clients who were victims of trolls and on-line haters. I have represented artists who were badgered by an angry digital mob into dismantling a political art exhibit.   The First Amendment did not win the day in that case.

I also help people strategically communicate to minimize the effects of on-line harassment and bullying, and I support them in having the confidence to be more visible so their customers and clients can find them.  So many professionals and business owners are afraid to be more visible precisely for this reason – fear of the trolls. It stops them from using technology to its fullest to grow their businesses.

And then I read this story about a 6th grader in Mississippi who hung himself after being called fat, ugly and worthless at school.

And my heart broke for him.  

I was that 6th grader.  I remember the absolute despair I felt at the time.  Obviously, I survived. But so many do not.

This morning’s news made me realize I could not wait any longer to release this episode.

My next guest is Sue Scheff.   Today you know her as the advocate against on-line hate.  

She was a victim of cyber bullying and harassment before it was even a thing, and she filed a now famous lawsuit to get her reputation back, and won a huge verdict.    Sue can tell her story better than I, and that’s why we did this interview. She, along with Melissa Schorr, is the author of Shame Nation, an amazing book with a forward by Monica Lewinsky, someone else who knows how the choices we make as humans sometimes have unintended and long-lasting consequences, especially in the digital age.  

On-line hate is a very real, very tragic problem. Our society has become so toxic in the way we disagree with each other.  It is very difficult to find people who disagree politely anymore. That’s why this topic means so much to me. In fact, it’s the main reason why I started this podcast.  I desperately wanted to shift the conversations I was hearing all around me.

Please read Shame Nation.   And, more importantly, please be kind to each other.  

 

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I am also on the web at www.jgardnerassociates.com and you can read about my approach to practicing law.

 


Jennifer Gardner is a trial lawyer and entrepreneur who helps business owners and professionals beat stress and burnout, love their work more, and grow their businesses using mindset, productivity and communication strategies, through digital products, group programs and 1:1 mentoring.

If you would like to book a call to explore whether Jennifer can help you and your business, please visit www.roamhowl.com/apply and book a free discovery session.