I’m getting thicker skin

When I was a TV Anchor, thick skin was a requirement.  Over and over, I would repeat to myself , “you can’t please everybody all the time”.

People would call the station to complain if I cut my hair (or when they thought I needed a trim), if I wore red, if I smiled too often or not enough.  When I met someone in person, they frequently said, “wow, you are thinner/prettier in person”.

Something about putting yourself out there means people are allowed or invited to share their thoughts, specifically of you.

I haven’t done TV for a few years, but am clearly ‘putting myself out there’ on this site. Until the last few days I haven’t had a comment that really stung.  Most of my readers (I smile and says thank you!) are opinionated, but  kind and generous.

I even did a post a month ago about some of the hatred I had seen online - and how truly baffling it is to me. Now it is my turn.

Ten days ago, I wrote a post about one of our family pictures (that I had posted online) ending up as an ad in the Czech Republic.  I found out because a guy I went to college with now lives there.  He just happened to see it as he was driving down the street.  I posted this story because I think it is INTERESTING: 1) I didn’t know pictures were being taken from the web and used in ads 2) what a small world!!  What are the chances I would know someone in Prague -and that same someone would drive down that very street and see the picture?

In the past 48 hours, this post has been posted on Digg/Reddit/and a whole bunch of others. Thousands of people have stopped by for a visit – hundreds of them had something to say. A lot of people shared similar stories, offered suggestions on what I should do, or merely said, “wow!  who knew?”

However, quite a few were horrendous and nasty.  I’ve been called names I hadn’t heard in years.

Seriously?  You digg my story?  You stumbled upon it?  And you just felt compelled to tell me my husband is the unluckiest guy in the world because he got ‘stuck’ with me? Or that he is ugly? Or something even more hideous about my kids? You think I’m a terrible mom for posting family pictures? I’m a moron for not knowing this could happen?

And best of all, you with the big and nasty words – you hide behind your anonymity. You leave fake websites and fake email addresses.  Why? Because you are a coward.  You hide behind your computer – somehow this makes you feel powerful.  Strange.

So, I posted an update on that post. I clarified the things people seemed to find most confusing.  And I mentioned I would be happy to approve most comments – as long as they related to the story.  Even if you think I’m a moron.  But, I won’t approve hatred.  I won’t approve pure nastiness – especially if it is aimed at my family.  Because, well, I don’t have to.  And clearly, those comments lack a little something – like a spine.

So, I saved my updated post.  I stopped reading the list of comments on the other sites.  I zip up my 3rd and 4th layers of skin and head out the door to play with my family.

And, yes – I do think my kids are beautiful. And I do think my husband is hot. 

And it is ok, if you don’t.

  • http://www.thepringlefamilyrocks.blogspot.com Kellie Pringle

    You go girl! I am proud of you (even though I don’t personally know you) that you are willing to stand up for yourself and your family. I believe you are a fantastic mother for that act alone. Praise God for people who are willing to say what needs to be said!

  • Danielle

    Andrew/Anonymous – As I mention in my post, I have approved many comments that criticize my use of family pictures online. I have also approved comments where people have criticized me as a parent – but I will NOT tolerate or allow pure hatred and nastiness on my site. It has absolutely nothing to do with being ‘against fostering of speech’ and EVERYTHING to do with common decency. The comments I am deleting include expletives and are based soley in hatred. They offer absoulutely NOTHING to the conversation. I can take people wondering why I am surprised, accusing me of creating this story – as a hoax nonetheless – strictly for publicity (also not ture, by the way), questioning my willingness to share info about my family on my blog etc.

    But since this is my personal domain, and comments that come in don’t apply under free speech arguments, I have every right to prevent this particular world from becoming a forum of nastiness. At this point, there are plenty of publications that have published the story and are allowing comments.

    To the rest of the commenters on here – all of you – it is my goal to respond to you – but it will take me into this next week. Thank you for coming by to voice your opinions – I do appreciate it.

    Danielle

  • Trish

    Andrew on June 12th,
    Really? Your answer is to just allow the filth to be posted, and to equate the disallowing of nasty posts to hindering freedom of speech? By your knowing that the post “should have” received more mean comments and being of the opinion that they should be allowed, thereby condoning them, impresses upon me that your opinion of freedom of speech is a free for all to throw common decency and respect out the window. Freedom of speech is the liberty to express opinions and ideas without hindrance, and without fear of punishment. The mean, nasty comments are expressed without being hindered. No one is going to the individual’s homes and removing their computers or punishing them for their comments, however, as individuals we have the right to listen to, promote, or ignore comments as well. If you are face to face with someone and do not like what they are saying, you walk away…you do not listen and then keep a recording of their opinions. If you do not like what someone is saying on TV, you turn it off…you do not record it for prosperity and as a showing of fostering freedom of speech. A personal blog with the ability to block what you do not wish to have added to it is akin to not allowing a person in your house. Why allow vulgar, nasty comments to remain for other individuals to have to see. Please do not state to just ignore it. Once read, you cannot just ignore…and without knowing the content without reading you cannot know to ignore. If reading the two sides of conversations, the kind and the nasty, is what you are looking for there are many sites online where you can find it. However, semantically arguing, we could go around and around about the freedoms you are not fostering by finding it wrong of the blog owner to block what she does not want on her domain. I, for one, would not have an open discussion if the other side of the discussion is nothing but nasty, cruel, hurtful comments. Yet, that is my freedom to do so.

  • http://www.willowandme.com Lisa Salsbury

    Hi. I just heard your story on NPR and was prompted to check out your blog, because I only half-heard the story. What I want to comment about is the fact that people would actually write nasty comments or notes to you about your family being ugly and whatever other unkind things they said. I don’t at all understand why someone would do that and just wanted to say that I am sorry it happened to you. I have my own very modest blog (only followed by a few friends) so I don’t get nasty comments or anything. I don’t know what I would do if I did get tham.

  • Shari

    Hi Danielle,
    I found your blog because of the Czech photo thing which I find incredulous. Amazing that some advertising agency would take your photo without permission.

    But I wanted to say nice post…and stick to your guns! You have a great blog. It’s just best to ignore all those mean, nasty cowards! I know they are out there and it stings, but, as you know, they’re not worth brain cells it requires to give them a moment of thought!

    Best of luck to you and your family.

  • Danielle

    Trish-

    Thank you. Well said and I appreciate you echoing my thoughts.

    Danielle

  • Ashley Wingler

    I just wanted to say that I think you have a beautiful family. I first saw this story on yahoo, and I thought, “Well, it’s no wonder they wanted to use that picture… it’s a lovely family.”

    I didn’t read all the comments on this page because, I suspect, they are all along these lines. Oh, but I do think the store owner should send you a bottle of wine — even though you aren’t in his country!

  • Tony Krabill

    Danielle, I heard your story on NPR tonight. Yes, it is fascinating. It’s that dilemma between making photos accessible to our friends and acquaintances for personal use, which also makes it easy for someone to do something less ethical or legal. And thanks for having the guts to take on the “cowards.” That people have nothing better to do than tear people down with hateful anonymous comments is one of the things that has made me leery of social networking. That’s a shame, because, as you note, it’s wonderful to reconnect with old friends. I know you already know this, but you have a BEAUTIFUL FAMILY! It’s obvious to me why your pic was chosen for the poster! All the best to you and your family!

  • Andrew

    Trish,

    I find it wonderful that you’ve found your own personal freedoms and that you have your own interpretation of the law. However, the comments section of a blog is meant for communication, and we cannot have that when one side is silenced.

    Sure, the comments in question may be nothing but pure nastiness, but they are still talk nonetheless. When I speak, I mean to be heard. It just so happens that the forum that these people choose to voice themselves exists here on this blog. This is truly a question of whether or not you are allowed to block things on your own site. If these people made the same comments elsewhere and Mrs. Smith read them, she would have the same reaction. Of course, she would not try to have them taken down there, because she does not have the power to. But the fact remains that she does not want them to speak at all. The only reason that they are not allowed to speak here, other than the fact that they’re mean, is “because, well, [she does]n’t have to.”

    Let them speak. Those who disagree with them are totally okay in doing so; you should speak up against them in return. Go right ahead, all of you.

  • http://www.kathyriddle.blogspot.com 2kids3martinis

    You rock! And how could anyone think you and the family are anything but gorgeous and adorable???

  • http://stefstyleblog.blogspot.com Stefanie Eskander

    Your family is beautiful. What a world we live in, so sorry you’ve been subjected to all this controversy. I hope some day you & your family will be able to look back and laugh. Know now, that thousands of Moms out there are cheering you on!

  • http://mickichele.blogspot.com micki

    It was a beautiful picture, no wonder they took it.

  • http://www.windfeatherexpressions.com Kim Windfeather

    There’s just some ‘not so nice’ people out there who are bored. Don’t let them get to you. Stay strong. Your family photo radiates the beauty within, and if people can’t see the obvious outside beauty as well, then they need glasses.

  • DC

    Although they are personal attacks, the attacks aren’t against *you*. People online, especially at sites like digg which allow for anonymous comments, think that it’s necessary to rip apart everything possible – even when it’s not true. It’s a sport for people who aren’t smart enough to remember rules. :D

    Put up a picture of the best looking, nicest person in the world and you’ll get comments that would shock you.

    I admit that when I saw the picture, I was embarrassed that my first thought was a superficial one, but it was more along the lines of “wow, hot mom!”. My apologies for being just as bad (although hopefully less rude) than the others!

    In all seriousness, I think that anybody would be happy to have a great family like yours.

  • http://blackhaircare101.com/cgi-bin/util/fm/Hair_thinning_growing_hair_female_hair_thinning_stop_hair_thinning_hair_product.html Clarissa

    I would just ignore them!! they are not worth your time!!!

  • Tony Krabill

    Andrew (June 12th), give me a break! Who is speaking? If the anonymous posters of nasty comments with expletives and epithets are NOT willing to identify themselves, their opinion is of no value whatsoever. No newspaper, radio, or TV outlet would print or air such garbage, so why should it be tolerated on a blog? I’m all for swallowing pride and not letting things get to you. But please don’t equate nastiness with hearing all sides. Hateful rhetoric doesn’t “foster” open discussion, it stifles it! Would you sing the same tune if someone threatened Danielle’s family on this blog?

  • Trish

    Andrew (June 12th), Again, we could just argue semantics;
    “Sure, the comments in question may be nothing but pure nastiness, but they are still talk nonetheless. When I speak, I mean to be heard. ” (Andrew)

    Sure, the driver in question may be drunk, but it is driving nonetheless. When he/she drives, they mean to get somewhere. (Note: not a serious opinion.)

    Just because a person talks, does not make it a “conversation”. We are all adults and hopefully understand that grey areas of when things could fall across the line of being right or wrong regardless if it still falls within a “definition”. I have no doubt that if I started calling you and your family names our dialog would become more of an arguement rather than a conversations. However, you are entitled to your beliefs, I just would not define the nasty comments as communication and a block of freedoms if we choose to filter them out. *shrug*

  • Tiffany

    I can’t believe people are so insensitive. We ALL know there are risks to “putting ourselves out there” on the internet, but I don’t think ANYONE (at least in the general population) would have expected anything like what happened to you and your family. You posted this information, in my opinion, to share your bad experience and give a warning to the public; specifically your readers. It is unfortunate that some people have too much time on their hands and find it to be their duty to make disrespectful comments to you. You have a BEAUTIFUL family. I think that’s the “problem.” People see a good-looking picture and they’re jealous. If you were not nice-looking people, you never would have been on television and the individuals who stole your photograph wouldn’t have been tempted to do so.

    As a fellow blogger, I wish you all the best.

  • http://runningscared.ca/UrbanMomtographer LindsayDianne

    This is the best, and in fact, the ONLY kind of attitude to have. When you open your life up to others, you open your life up to ridicule.
    Walk it off, ignore them. Nastiness is really unbecoming. There is still a large group of people out there who enjoy your writing, vlogging, photographs, etc.