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Case Study – Cyber Bullies, Online Trolls and James Welch

Cyber Bullying is a problem which is getting worse each year. In the latest report from Childline it showed that concerns about Online bullying rose by 87% in 2013 compared with 2011/2012. More than 30,000 young people were counseled by the charity with older children from 12-18 feeling more targeted online.

However its not just Children who feel the pressure of Online Abuse,there is also a large number of adults who bully and troll online.

The goal of an adult bully is to gain power over another person, and make himself or herself the dominant adult. They try to humiliate victims, and “show them who is boss.”
http://cyberguardiansonline.com/

This week at the age of 33 I found myself the victim of a Cyber Bullying Attack – you can read more in my case study below.

What Makes a Cyber Bully or Troll?

What makes a Cyber Bully or Internet Troll?

In A recent Article by Chris Mooney his headline was “Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People”, his posts talks about a Psychology paper written by Erin Buckels to characterise the personality of who engages in Trolling.

In the study carried out by Buckels he identified Trolls in a number of ways, one was simply to ask via a poll on what people enjoyed doing most when online and related this in a Psychological manner to the personality traits of:

  • Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others),
  • Narcissism (egotism and self-obsession),
  • Psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy)
  • Sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).
    Chris Mooney

Cyber bullies are often motivated by anger, revenge or frustration. Sometimes they do it for entertainment or because they are bored and have too much time on their hands and too many tech toys available to them. Many do it for laughs or to get a reaction.
Fred Hetner

Psychology Aside Cyber bullies can be typically categorised into the following types according to Fred Hetner in his article on the examiner.

The Vengeful Angel, the Power Hungry, the Mean Girls, and the Inadvertant Cyber Bully (or Because I can).
Fred Hetner – NY Law Enforcement Examiner

Vengeful Angel

A Vengful Angel is when someone is bullied and there friends react and then bully back.

Power Hungry bullies

They use Cyber bullying to try and embarrass, frighten or even tarnish more socially accepted peers.

Mean Girls

Normally the most immature who write information to gain attention.

The Inadvertant Cyber Bully

This happens when someone writes something without thinking about the possible consequences of their actions.

Cyber Bullying Case Study - James Welch

Case Study – Cyber Bullying – James Welch

james-welch-article-21022014-LQ

Article written about “Plagiarism by James Welch”

This week I myself was subjected to a wild accusation of “Plagiarism”  initially over twitter which pointed to a full blog post about “Plagiarism by Neil Walker”.

I was “horrified” that such a statement could be made and I went through all the feelings that many people go through when they are feeling bullied of Anger, Frustration and I simply wondered why James Welch had tried to discredit me in such a fashion.

This is the first time I’ve personally received negative publicity online and this is not from an Ex Client, a disgruntled employee, no this was from an Ex Colleague, someone who I previously had respect for.

The Accusation

The Accusation

In the blog post written by James he says a number of comments to discredit my Skill and even deter clients from using my services.

Neil Walker, had been passing off my work as his own at various trade shows
James Welch 

He also makes a bold comment of me actually stealing his work.

Neil having no strategy of his own, or to actually steal something such as someone else’s work
James Welch

His aim to deter clients is what hurts mostly as when we worked together it was great – Now he’s a director of a rival company i simply can’t believe how unprofessional he has been.

This, good marketing directors and managing directors of the UK, is what is wrong with much of the SEO industry still to this day.
James Welch

5 Years Ago

5 Years Ago

The biggest insult is that James is referring to a presentation (Video above) of a seminar I performed at Adtech London in 2009 but originally performed in 2008 at a conference in Stockholm.

I just didn’t quite understand where this accusation had come from especially when I had a glowing recommendation on LinkedIn from him.

James Welch

To Give you an idea of how long Five years ago is,  since 2008 the following has happened (Remember?)

  • 2009 – Barack Obama became president
  • 2009 – The Ipad Launched
  • 2010 – Volcanic ash from the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland
  • 2011 – An earthquake measuring 9.0 in magnitude strikes east of Sendai, Japan, triggering a tsunami killing thousands of people.
  • 2011 – Osama Bin Ladan is killed
  • 2012 – London Hosted the Olympics
  • 2013 – A Royal Baby is born

The Bold Truth

The Bold Truth

So did I steal his work? To give you some back ground I worked with James Welch whilst at Just Search 2007 – 2008, James was Head of Research with a small team under him which produced innovations for the company.

James presented to some employees including myself a document that he and his team had produced, a Mind Map (Basically a brainstorm) of what factors contributed to a successful website – this was nothing new but a great visual format and I credited him and his team for the work.

This is what James’s job role was, yet he has accused me of “stealing his work and passing it off as my own” – yet this initial diagram was done for and on behalf of the company.

I’m fully aware of the contract we had in place whilst we both worked at Just Search and the comment to the left fully applies from http://www.own-it.org/knowledge/i-m-an-employee-who-owns-the-ip-rights

It is not always clear what constitutes producing a work in the course of employment, but factors taken into consideration include: undertaking work that falls within the type of activities that can be expected from the employee’s line of employment, and so on. If the work falls within the scope of tasks that the creator was employed to carry out then the resulting IP can still belong to their employer even if the employee worked in his spare time and used his own equipment.
– own-it.org

The Truth

After James resignation was accepted from Just Search it was my role to manage his team and the work that had been produced. I worked with the Research and Development team to produce seminars such as discussed in this cases study.

Our research showed that this concept or mind map was actually built on early ideas from search marketing experts like:

Claiming this work to be my own

Again this accusation was unfounded – I clearly state in my blog post from September 2009 (waybackmachine) before the video was taken that:

This year I’m speaking about “The Mind Map of a successful website.” It’s based on the work of a number of SEO experts who have had input at Just Search and each year we’ve expanded the information to add the next set of details on the subject.
-Neil Walker September 2009

Its also clear from statements i make in the video that I have not claimed this work is sole-fully mine.

The Synopsis of why we came up with the seminar
– Neil Walker – Adtech 2009

Do I still use the presentation?

Its on my YouTube channel and my website but if I’m honest I’ve not physically used it as sales material in over four years, why? – Since then I’ve spoken at the following conference on various different subjects:

  • IonSearch – 2013 – SEO Tools of the Trade
  • Brighton SEO – 2013 – Post Penguin Link Building
  • A4u London – 2012 – You are the weakest link – Good Bye
  • SASCON – 2012 – Breaking free of Panda (joint presentation with Pete Young Mediacom)
  • SMX Advanced London – 2012 – IS Mobile Search Important
  • SMX West – 2012 – Webmaster Tools Tactics
  • SES London  – 2012 – SEO Power Tools
  • Brighton SEO – 2011 – Links Value V Clients
  • Think visibility 2011 – Marketing Statistics and How to use them
  • SMX Stockholm 2011 – Competitor Research
  • SASCON – 2011 – Forecasting SEO

Dealing with A Cyber Attack

Dealing with the Cyber Attack

When i first received the tweet about this article of course I was frustrated and wanted to reply and defend myself but that would have only made the matter initially worse so I did what I think was the best practice.

  • I took a deep breath
  • I simply didn’t respond online in any format.
  • I talked to my wife.
  • I talked to my friends
  • I went to a forum with some of the top digital marketers in the world and told them what happened and asked opinions.
  • I documented and took screen shots.

With a lot of cyber bullying the “bully” or “troll” is often anonymous however I knew this had been produced by James Welch – and although its still online I thought the best way to deal with this matter would be to go and see him personally to discuss what had been written. (As I had conversations with James in earlier years advising him that i had done this presentation.)

James was conveniently unable to talk with me for the hour I spent at their office, but I did speak with his fellow director  and explained how unprofessional his post was and that it made not only him but his company look bad and all I wanted was the post to be removed – Unfortunately 4 days later his post has not been removed.

This Case Study – clearly outlines the truth about his post.
Neil Walker Feb 2014

Conclusion

Conclusion – Why did he write his post?

There is no winner in a cyber bullying case – the victim still has to recover from the attack and will feel discredited like the bully will feel discredited, but it still begs the question what provoked this malicious behavior.

Avenging Angel?

Did James feel retribution was needed because he lost a client to my business?

Power Hungry?

Did James feel he needed to discredit me because since we worked together I have gone onto speak at some of the leading Digital Marketing Conference not just in the UK but Worldwide on panels of my peers with some of which are considered to be some of the greatest SEO and Digital Marketing experts on the planet?

Mean Girls?

Did James just want to practice his controversial content marketing efforts?

The Inadvertant

I would tend to think this is what has happened and James has simply posted things without actually think how negative they sound and what potential repercussions may happen.

Case Study End

More Information About Cyber Bullying

Where does Cyber Bullying Occur?

Where does Cyber Bullying Occur?

In The Annual Cyber Bullying report from Ditch The Label (The focus is on 13-22 year olds) – It showed the use of cyber bullying in social media, with 54% of its users being Cyber Bullied on Facebook, 28% Twitter but all social networks it covered had at least 14% of young users feeling bullied which had repercussions such as:

  • Self Esteem
  • Social Life
  • Optimimism
  • Studies / Work
  • Home Life

However Digital Harassment is not just restricted to Social Media according to  Stomp Out Bullying it can happen across many other digital platforms such as:

  • Instant Messaging Platforms
  • Website and Forums
  • Blogs
  • Interactive Gaming

How Should You Deal With Cyber Bullying?

How should you deal with Cyber Bullying or Reputation Management

There is far more information about dealing with online trolls available for children and parents than other adults but the theory is still the same.

  1. Communication – If You feel you are a victim of Cyber Bullying the first step is to tell someone.
  2. Don’t React – Take a deep breath – Comments may be hurtful or simply a lie – An initial reaction can only exacerbate the situation.
  3. Document the evidence  – Take screen shots of instant messages, posts etc. – They are often deleted.
  4. Know how to block people – Make sure you are aware of how to use social network properly.
For Help and Support with Cyber Bullying and Online Trolls you can contact one of the following Charities:
Credits: (Cyber Bullying References)
  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26121199
  2. http://www.stompoutbullying.org/index.php/information-and-resources/parents-page/tip-sheet-how-understand-and-handle-cyberbullying/
  3. http://www.ditchthelabel.org/downloads/the-annual-cyberbullying-survey-2013.pdf
  4. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/climate_desk/2014/02/internet_troll_personality_study_machiavellianism_narcissism_psychopathy.html?utm_content=buffer15755&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
  5. http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/jan/09/cyberbullying-childline-statistics-online-bullying
  6. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/climate_desk/2014/02/internet_troll_personality_study_machiavellianism_narcissism_psychopathy.html?utm_content=buffer15755&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
  7. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886914000324
  8. http://cyberguardiansonline.com/2013/11/04/cyber-bullying-not-just-a-teenage-issue/
  9. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/dealing-with-bullying.html
  10. http://www.examiner.com/article/what-makes-a-cyber-bully
One comment on “Case Study – Cyber Bullies, Online Trolls and James Welch
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  1. […] his own post, “Case Study – Cyber Bullies, Online Trolls and James Welch”, Walker called Welch’s claims “a wild accusation” and that the mind map was […]

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