Once upon a time … there was a girl on the Internet who stumbled upon a woman who claimed to be a very knowledgeable person in a very certain field. She had a few things to prove what she had to say. Quickly, the Stumbling Girl found loose ends that just didn’t make sense and when she tugged on them, the thread unraveled within the story’s tapestry the Knowledgeable Woman had created. The woman was a fraud.
How many of us have been taken in over something in the past because of the Internet? Okay, being fair, not because of the Internet but because the person on the other end was manipulating the tool of the Internet.
Given the fact that the Internet is a great place to hide, it can be very difficult to verify things people on here tell us. All of us have fallen prey to someone through this collection of cables and wires, some more drastic then others. My story of this lays with a woman who clamed to be of a particular spiritual background. Granted, she knew a few points on the practice but when people started to ask her for more serious in-depth information, she would go into hiding for weeks at a time. She didn’t know what she was claiming she did. And worse, she was labeling herself as a teacher of this faith. When I first stumbled across this woman, she came across as not quite right, but yet I didn’t listen to my gut and instead listened to her. My mistake.
Ended up I knew more about the topic then she did. But what about the people who truly know nothing of the topic at hand? Those who have been coming to her for real information? How do you protect someone from being taken advantage of through the ‘net; other then broadcasting their names around the Internet and forming what some might consider a smear campaign, which then could be seen as you being the one in the wrong. Some would say, just ignore them. Well, that might work for you but it still leaves them available to prey on others. It’s a tough nut to crack.
In my case, a close Internet group I am part of is now breaking apart. True friends can be hard to find on or offline. When someone worms their way into the center of things, battle lines are drawn and real feelings get hurt, even when the weekly meeting place is a virtual coffee shop.