geek girl con

Guest Post by Jessica Mason

 

Pros and Cons

Fan conventions are funny things: they look different from inside. It’s actually much easier as an outsider observer to notice trends and take in everything about a con. For instance, I felt like I knew much less about all the panels at SDCC 2014 because I was too busy racing through the San Diego Convention Center and surrounding climes to keep up with Twitter and Tumblr and all the news that was emerging. In a way, that’s what can make a con fun. You are completely enclosed in your little world. There are usually too many people taking up bandwidth to make actually readings tweets and tumblr feasible, and the reception is always crappy, so you get to exist in this nice bubble. You hang out with your fellow fans, make friends, stand in long lines, forget to eat, squee and generally enjoy your time fangirling. And that was to some extent my experience at Geek Girl Con 2014 in Seattle over the 11th and 12th of October, except the real world’s very ugly head kept finding ways to butt in.

In the past, the Collective blog has addressed issues such as nerd privilege and the way that sometimes being in a fandom can hurt us. Today, however, I’m presenting an issue that extends to every user of the Internet: cyberbullying.

This is not something that only affects teens. This is not only the title of an ABC Family movie. This is not a myth.

Cyberbullying—sometimes known as cyberharassment or cyberstalking—carries much of the same definition as traditional bullying. Dan Olweus, a Norwegian researcher who is recognised as the leading scholar on bullying, defines cyberbullying as “bullying performed via electronic means such as mobile/cellphones or the internet” (1). ‘Traditional’ bullying, he defines as “using three components: (1) aggressive behavior with negative actions, (2) a pattern of behavior over time, and (3) an imbalance of power or strength” (2). We most frequently associate these actions with children and adolescents, but this is not always the case.