10th November 2015

Online Trolls and Bullies

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted lately – which I know isn’t great for a blogger, and its quite unusual for me to have such a long break! (1 month today to be precise) but what with being mega busy (not complaining), I also had a little bit of a confidence crash! It’s very unlike me, I’m quite thick-skinned, can take criticism and I also don’t believe in highlighting or paying attention to negative situations online, or in my life.

BUT for one time, I’m going to break my rule on that. Why? Because its my blog, and I can write what I like right?

I also believe that I can’t be the only one who has experienced what I’m about to write about – TROLLS, BULLIES, AKA what I call complete TIME-WASTERS really! Because it is a waste of time to try and intentionally upset someone right?

Online Trolls and Bullies

Eeek – and we’re off…

So, I’ve thought about writing this post a couple of times, then shrugged it off as I didn’t want people to know they had upset me, that the nasty comments that they felt was OK to email me played over & over in my mind, that I questioned my whole place and significance in the cake and baking world! BUT I then thought why the heck not! I should be able to defend myself (not the point of this post though) and I should be able to hopefully, make anyone feel stronger or better about themselves if they have ever gone through this too (the main point of this post).

It started off with a few digs, a few passive aggressive comments on some cupcakes I created. I used someone else’s fab design and I did credit the original baker on my Facebook page and on my blog, with their website and Facebook page too. I stressed in the blog post I wrote about the cupcakes that these weren’t my design and I had taken inspiration from others.  Hands up who thinks that’s OK to do? I did! And for the first time I did do this…

BIG mistake!

I must stress though, and this is the slightly strange part, the baker who created the original cupcakes didn’t seem to mind at all, I sent her a message and she was perfectly fine with me, in fact was very lovely and polite, and she said appreciated my message.

All good you’d think. What happened next is what I didn’t and don’t understand and that is why 6 different people felt it was OK to send me private messages and email me telling me how wrong I was! I am apparently “an insult to the cake industry” “should be ashamed of myself” “talentless” I was even threatened with the plagiarism word! I got thrown out of an online collaboration that I’d even withdrawn from! How strange is that? I guess she just wanted to get her two pennies worth in too and needed an excuse to ‘have a go’. Just to confirm what this means:

Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work –

Wikipedia – just to be careful I must credit right 😉

Did I do that? NO I most certainly didn’t. I used an image on Pinterest and I recreated something I thought was so cool and fun and I credited the original designer – not taking credit as my own work at all! I hope that one day I create something so beautiful that people would like to recreate it, I’d be flattered and take it as huge compliment!

What I decided to do…

Anyway, I was shocked to say the least! I tried to ignore these comments, deleted and blocked and moved on. But then a week later it was still going on! I removed the photos from my Facebook feed, and I replied to one email.  Why this one? Because I thought we were kinda friends.  I’d admired this certain cake artist for some time, her work is flawless, we live in the same town, she is original and we’d always commented, liked, and praised each others work too. I’d even lent her some of my fondant once when she’d run out!  But then I heard she sent emails to someone I work with and it was just a step too far. Why not come to me first and talk to me? Was she really that naive to think I wouldn’t find out? Why go behind my back?

All sorts was going through my head, I let my emotions jump in rather than my sensible side of ignoring it all and I responded to her email to me. Did it make me feel better? NO. Did I regret rising to it? YES.  Her excuse – she is an ‘honest person’ and felt so strongly that she had to get involved.  It was just a shame that I was the last person she spoke to about it and it felt like it turned into an unnecessary witch hunt!

You know that sinking nervous anxious feeling you get when something upsetting happens, I got it. I was pretty mortified 🙁  It felt like a strong personal attack on me, when I really felt like I had followed all the ‘cake rules’ by crediting.  And don’t forget, the original designer had no problem, these were all message (bar one) from people I have never even spoken or heard of before!

Its not nice having a fall-out with someone (if that’s why you can call it).  In my three years of running Cuppies ‘n’ Cream I’ve made mistakes. I’ve learnt from them and I’m so so happy that I do have a tight circle of cake buddies who helped me through this. Especially to my feisty little Lucy!  To them I owe a big thank you.

Let normal service resume…

So, its all back to normal from now on. I’ll be back on top form in no time and my blogs will be regular again! If you ever go through anything like this my advice would be to just ignore it! Use that block button and stay strong. People hide behind their computer screen and keyboard forgetting that we are all real people!

I recently read this quote and it stuck in my mind “You’re not rated until your hated” Made me laugh!

The online world can be cruel but at the same time we all love it too! Otherwise you wouldn’t be online reading this blog right now would you? 😉 In the (admittedly cheesy) words of Taylor Swift.. I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake –  I shake it off, I shake it off.

Online Trolls and Bullies

19 responses to “Online Trolls and Bullies”

  1. speddinga says:

    Blimey.. Keyboard warrior = Not worth knowing. Savvy advice you give there, although I expect very hard to take at the time. Keep blogging… Love reading what you’ve been up to! And it also reminds me I need to post a blog too. XX Cyber hug XX

    • Cuppiesncream says:

      I know Alison, its just a shame when people think its acceptable to act like that. Looking forward to your next post xx

  2. Stacey Kite says:

    I haven’t experienced a rude comment on my blog, so I’ve never gone through that kind of experience but I’m sure I’d turn into a puddle of goo. There aren’t really many hateful people in the world–but when they make noise, if sure feels like there are a lot of them. What surprises (and alarms me), is that the flack you got seemed to get so personal, so fast. I’m sorry that happened to you.

    • Cuppiesncream says:

      thank you Stacey, your supportive comment is really appreciate. And you are so right, there are far more of the nice ones than the bad x

  3. Kudos to you for shaking it off and coming back strong! Personally I’d be thrilled if someone chose to share my words (with credit, as you did). I’m sorry you experienced this. I find the blogging community to be 99.9% supportive people…Facebook not so much. Best to you, Karen 🙂

  4. Michala Penfold says:

    wow natalie – you are an amazing baker – ive always admired your cakes. Cuppies n Cream was probably the first cake businesses that i came across when i first started out and i was totally inspired by your gorgeous cakes. it baffles me why there are these people out there that insist on being cruel and nasty and sticking their noses where they dont belong (although i strongly believe they are the ones with the unhappy insecure lives). you keep going dont stop, shake shake it off and keep baking natatlie 😉
    michala (Vanilla Butterfly Cupcakes)

    • Cuppiesncream says:

      Ah Michala, thank you so much! I’m also a huge fan of yours too and its lovely that complete strangers can be so kind. I will contact you soon on that other matter too – promise! xx

  5. spamfred says:

    There’s just no accounting for stupid people. Nothing is truly original, our inspiration always comes from experience and the fact that you referenced the source is great.

    Glad you’re back on it now 🙂

  6. how awful! I must admit I think providing credit is given and you’ve checked beforehand the original creator is fine with it what could possibly be the issue!

    Hannah @ The Northern Writes

  7. Emi says:

    Bullies are bullies. Love your shake-it-off approach. Hugs to you!

  8. R.M. Lopez says:

    Sweetie I’m so sorry that this happened to you!!! I would have been crushed…. I’m glad you came back… You write such an awesome blog and I look forward to reading it! Remember… You totally rock girl !!!!! 🙂

  9. Glad you’re back and that didn’t stop you! I think there will be negative people everywhere we go! Don’t let them stop you! 🙂

  10. Melissa Jellie says:

    Something that needs to be talked about more. The internet is getting crazy. Glad this didn’t stop you!

  11. Mum says:

    I think your amazing and obviously some people are just a little bit envious of your talent

  12. Camilla Brown says:

    So sorry these fools got to you. You are extremely talented in both your cake making and teaching. You have inspired me through your work and blog. One day I will be good enough to copy one of your designs (and hopefully I’ll remember to ask first!)
    Camilla x

    • hellocuppies says:

      Ahh Camilla, thank you! That’s lovely to hear. I wrote this post a while back when I was quite upset by it, the sentiment and meaning still stands though and is incredibly important. I’ve had people email me in the last year asking to recreate cakes I’ve done and my answer is always yes. Nothing is ever totally original, nobody can ever really own a design either xx

  13. Zoe says:

    Hi Natalie – I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had a tough time. I dont really understand the creative world but in science we recognise that we are always standing on the shoulders of giants. To take someone else’s thoughts (with acknowledgement) and to add our own twist or development is the only way forward. I hugely recognised your talent and massively appreciated your tution on on a course that I attended that you taught. Big hug, Zoe xxx

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