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.

Thank you

Thank you for expressing your opinions so freely about our family’s stolen picture.

I am grateful you have been comfortable enough to tell me you are furious, you are outraged, you are amazed by the ‘small world’ aspect of the story, you think it is crazy/funny/cool – or even that it has reinforced your desire to keep pictures of you and your family offline.

Many of you have contacted lawyers and ‘friends in the know’ on my behalf and offered suggestions on how I might handle this. I am grateful for your thoughts.

This has been an interesting week to say the VERY least. 

I will tell you this – I had no idea something like this could happen, I am floored by the ‘what-are-the-chances’ scenario – I mean, really – a picture is stolen, ends up half way around the world on a store window – and I JUST SO HAPPEN to have a college friend who lives there (and it is someone I’m just recently back in touch with – thanks to Facebook).

I will, of course, keep you updated as this plays itself out. 

This isn’t going away – I know that.

Stolen Picture

So, this is the price we pay for indulging in social media, I guess.

I am thrilled to have reconnected with so many friends on Facebook.  One of them sent me this message yesterday:

Alright, so how’s this for random: I’m in the car, taking my wife for a check up, pass by a new grocery store and notice that they have a picture of you, your husband and two kids on the store front window. Life size. I kid you not. Will take a photo of it later today and send….

What you don’t know from this message: this college friend lives in the CZECH REPUBLIC.

Clearly, my family did NOT take a picture for any advertisements – either here or abroad. And, clearly, whoever hijacked the picture assumed no one would recognize us so far away. Hmmmm…wrong. :)

I’ll admit, there is an element of flattery (I think) to the whole thing.  But still, there is something creepy about knowing our family picture was stolen from one of my sites. This picture has been on my blog, used as a Christmas card and put on a few Ning Networking sites. It is also on my Facebook page (which is one of the reasons Justin recognized us) but my FB page is open only to friends.

Perplexing.

Here is the real picture:

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And here is our modeling debut in Prague.

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According to my friend, Justin, the translation reads:  “We will prepare and deliver your requests in two business days.”

Thanks, Justin for letting me know!

Interesting.  Bizarre. Flattering, I suppose.  But quite creepy.

This picture was taken by a friend of mine, Gina Kelly.  She does give me the rights to the pictures she has taken – and has authorized me to use them on my site, etc.

Your thoughts?

Updated, Saturday, June 6th.  Based on the comments I’m seeing, I feel compelled to clarify a few things. 1) I am the author of this site – Danielle.  Not my husband.  Quite a few comments have been directed to him. 2) I take FULL responsibillity for posting this picture with the incorrect resolution (read: too high).  Clearly, I am not a professional photographer and should have made the resolution smaller and/or watermarked the picture. 3) I used the incorrect term in one of my comments – the photographer did sign a release for me to use the pictures, and certainly, this does not mean I ‘own’ them. 4) While the photographer certainly may sell some of her pictures as stock, she ALWAYS has the subjects sign a model release.  I didn’t sign one for this picture, but would have if she had asked. 5) I posted this story because I think it is INTERESTING – what are the chances a friend who see this ad thousands of miles away? AND because I was SURPRISED it happend. Like many of you commenting, I wasn’t aware pictures could be taken.  If this makes me naive, so be it.  Now I know. And, for the record, I will not stop using pictures of my family on my site – I will however, change the format. 6) I am grateful to the greatest percentage of people who have commented with very interesting thoughts.  However, if you are part of the smaller percentage who are commenting only to say that a member of my family (or all of us) are ugly, I won’t be approving the comment.  I won’t allow it on my site.  I imagine you understand.  Thanks for stopping by!