The EL James trilogy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ books has become an international publishing phenomenon, the 40 million books sold to date outselling the previous world record book sales of all Harry Potter books combined. The books describe the relationship between Christian Grey and his ‘submissive’, to become his girlfriend and then wife Anastasia Steele, one which is based on a perverse need by Grey to punish and dominate the lady he loves, reflecting his childhood of rejection and abuse.
The book refers to Christian Grey’s Red Room of Pain, and whenever Anastasia needs to be punished, she is taken into the room, for whipping and other dominant acts by Grey.
Having been the subject of a number of Twitter abuse accounts, I and others have tried to analyse why a Tweeter such as Sonia Cabano, who has created three of the four abuse Twitter accounts against ourselves, needs to lash out and ‘whip’ us at weekly intervals on her @SoniaCabano2 and the abuse Twitter accounts. Could she be the Christian Grey of Twitter, who can only deal with the anger of her day by lashing out at others, including ourselves, singer Steve Hofmeyr (her pet hate), and politicians?
Cabano has proudly Tweeted that she will Tweet whatever she wants to say, no matter how insulting or defamatory her Tweets are. Her latest hobby horse pertains to our Twitter account, being convinced that we have ‘bought‘ Followers. She has Tweeted the question on her personal Twitter account, on the Twitter abuse accounts, and sent the question as a comment to our blog on 15 August: ‘Would you care to explain to the hospitality and tourism industry at large how it is that you came to gain 22 000 fake bot Twitter followers overnight? Just asking. Sincerely Sonia Cabano’. As we do not accept advertising nor sponsorship on our blog, we do not need to push its readership (already having about 35000 unique readers per month built up over the past four years). We use Twitter (as well as Facebook) to alert potential readers to the new blogpost we write every day, and therefore it makes no difference to us as to how many Followers we have on Twitter. Twitter Follower numbers vary daily, and we do not subscribe to any service which alerts us to new or to lost Twitter Followers. We deny that we have paid for any of our 24800 Twitter Followers. Every time Cabano lashes out, it attracts attention to our Blog and Twitter account, adding new readers and Followers.
We have been able to close down some of Cabano’s Twitter abuse accounts when they have been based on impersonation, purporting to be ourselves. However Twitter strongly advocates freedom of speech, and generic account names, despite defamatory content, is unfortunately allowed. We respect Facebook’s approach to abuse toward others – one warning, and the account is closed if it happens a second time.
Cabano had a short term stint as Social Media Manager for Robertson’s Spices in March, when MasterChef SA started, but she lost her position when she tried to settle personal scores on her client’s Twitter account. She has been an international model, a TV presenter, and now is a cookbook writer, having written ‘Kombuis’, ‘Easy, Simple, and Delicious’, ‘Relish’, and ‘Luscious Vegetarian’, the latter book with her MasterChef SA Finalist niece Jade de Waal.
One wonders why Cabano has such a fascination with our Blog and Twitter account, when she can find nothing good to say about them, following in the Twitter abuse ‘footsteps’ of David Cope, who started the Whalespotter account, which has been taken over by Clare and Eamon ‘Mack’ McLoughlin of Spill Blog, with help from Skye Grove of Cape Town Tourism at one stage! Could it be that Cabano, just like Christian Grey, has a perverse pleasure in inflicting pain on others, and needs this abuse to work through her being ‘tormented by inner demons, and consumed by the need to control’, just as the book describes Christian Grey in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey‘?
While we love Twitter and the information it provides and its entertainment value in being a ‘virtual lounge’ connecting thousands of viewers of events such as the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, we are appalled that Twitter can allow defamatory and abusive Tweets. During the Olympic Games Tweets aimed at young British diver Tom Daley led to the Tweeter being detained, the UK having strict laws when it comes to abuse. One wishes that Twitter abuse and defamation would be dealt with in South African law as well.
Despite the abuse we have had to endure as a result of our honesty in writing this blog, we will persevere in writing the truth, no matter the cost!
POSTSCRIPT 20/8: A book ‘Return on Influence’ has been written by Mark Schaeffer, focusing on the power of Twitter Followers, and the influence of Tweeters. He refers to Klout, the score of Social Media influence, evaluating one’s influence based on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Klout+ scores received, and Wikipedia coverage. Today our Klout score is 65 (out of 100), with 892 of our Tweets Re-Tweeted and 1600 mentions of @WhaleCottage in others Tweets in the past 90 days. Our Topics of Influence are Cape Town, Travel & Tourism, and Hotels, according to Klout.
POSTSCRIPT 21/8: Sonia Cabano only Tweeted once on her personal account yesterday (her usual quota is about 100 Tweets per day!). But she did lash out against this blogpost on her Twitter abuse account!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage