2014 Twitter exchange, Stacy Shelton Reno and a cyberstalker using the screen name “Scott Boulevard.”
In August 2014 a Decatur, Ga., Realtor had lunch with the executive director of a local history organization. A few hours later, the Realtor was swapping tweets with local cyberstalkers about my impending move back to Maryland from Atlanta.
The Realtor learned about my relocation plans during her lunch. I had confided about the move to a handful of close friends, including the history colleague. The Realtor, mainly because of her past absurd and malicious allegations that I had been stalking her, was one of the people we did not want to know about the planned move. Her communications on Twitter underscored the concerns my wife and I had when we decided to sell our home. Continue reading
[Ed. Note: This was originally published in September 2012.]
My wife and I went to sleep one night in 2011 and awoke in a Twilight Zone episode. Back in 2007, anti-preservation activists settled for yard signs, rude emails, and disappearing blogs. Today residents in Decatur, Georgia’s Oakhurst neighborhood who oppose historic preservation and who defend destructive gentrification in their neighborhood anonymously use Twitter and other social media sites to settle scores with folks with whom they disagree. They create and post vulgar and defamatory animated videos that offend their more sensible neighbors and demean their entire community.
Screen capture from one of the fake Twitter accounts. The hyperlink originally pointed to the site xtranormal.com where four offensive animated videos had been created and posted by the individual calling him/herself @OakhurstVillain.
As of this writing, Twitter has suspended three “fake” accounts (the status of a fourth is undetermined); complaints have been filed against others and remedial action by Twitter may be pending against them. Sure, people — myself included — use Twitter for mischief sometimes. Parody accounts and other legal uses abound. But there is a bright line between innocent, albeit boisterous, posting and harassment and defamation. The people in Decatur behind these accounts have crossed that threshold.