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When you are the victim of aggressive online behavior in your profession

Michelle Strange, MSDH, RDH, takes an in-depth look at cyberbullying, online aggression in the professional world, and how to process anger and online ranting in a positive way.

Bullies and victims. These two personas have been around as long as humans have existed. Usually, we think of them in the classroom or on the playground, but as the internet has evolved, bullying has become more complex. Online bullying, or cyberbullying, wreaks havoc on its victims, and it is much harder to escape when it happens in online forums attached to personal or professional social media accounts.

The veil of anonymity the online world provides seems to encourage bullying as it takes less effort to type some vicious words than to torment someone in person. People are easier to access when they have public personas in the digital world; celebrities, journalists, and other high-profile figures often find themselves victims of this vitriol. But is it really anonymous bullying?

In professional forums with thousands of members who can screenshot all conversations, see the poster’s name, and immediately look up licensing information and report the behavior to employers, the consequences can be great. The aggressive and often unprofessional behavior in social media forums is seen by many and may stain the reputation of the poster.

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