A fan feels cyber bullied by other fans.

Bad thing to happen.

But what exactly happened?

A fan took the freedom to express herself about the professional choices of an actor, who never discusses his choices publicly. So she was not talking with him, but about him. Not the most polite way to act publicly. But very common of course. Everybody feels free to criticize everybody for his or her personal choices these days. 

Just to be clear, we are not talking of any political decisions that influence our lives and that of course need to be discussed publicly. We are talking about a persons private choices, what job to take or whom to follow on Twitter.

Some other fans took the freedom to criticize the fan. Obviously in a not very appropriate way with attacking her personally and accusing her to be a bad fan, to be mean and whatever else. I don’t know what else was written, I don’t take part in such conversations.

Those fans also didn’t talk with the actor, but only about him. Nevertheless they seem to have reclaimed to defend him. Strange behavior anyway. When he doesn’t feel the need to protect himself, why does anybody else feel the need to do so?

Now one of the disputing parties reclaims she has been cyberbullied.

I disagree with her about that. 

Bullying is a process, that by definition takes a long time to happen. It’s never just one event. Bullying is something happening again and again constantly. We talk about several months or even years here. Not a few days or weeks.

Bullying never happens between equals. Bullies are always stronger by being in an higher position in a hierarchy or being older or being several in number against one victim.

Otherwise each conflict between humans would be bullying. 

None of the defining factors seems to be given in this case.

This is just a dispute between some grown up ladies who couldn’t agree about the right way to talk about a third not involved grown up person.

That may be a very bad experience and it may hurt.

But it’s not cyberbullying.

Why is that important?

It’s important, because it diminishes the real bullying going on.

Bullying, whether in real life or on line is a huge problem. It brings people into very difficult situations. Bullying is never to be solved by muting or blocking a person. That are just actions to support the overcoming of bullying.

So please, be careful with overusing the word ‘cyberbullying’ for any conflict. That makes taking action against real bullying more difficult.