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Charles.M

Professional Reputation in the age of the Internet

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When I started in the Tattoo Scene, it was before the internet was really a thing in tattooing, we did not have a photocopier, I was the photocopier. I was told, make this 25% smaller, so I did, by hand. We did not have a stencil machine, I was the stencil machine. Handmade everything, needles, stencils, enlarging, etc...

I remember Scott Silvia mentioned in an interview that the reason he set up the LST Forum was because a tattoo magazine did an interview with him and completely misquoted him, which created a lot of controversy (and more readers of the magazine) at his expense. Despite the claims in the magazine not being true, to this day people still think he said those things and have a hate on for him, regardless of it not being true and despite his denial of it. The LST was set up so people could be heard in their own words without the media filter. I have had the same experience, people have had a hate on for me, not because of what I have actually said or done, but for what people have said about me online, then brought that into the real world, do you see the difference.

In the age of the internet, Electronic reputation has become something that is a part of things whether we want to be or not. Before, having a good local reputation and a yellow page entry on the business section of the telephone directory was all that was necessary.

To make a years long story short, My history coles notes version of almost 20 years in this Tattoo thing.

I started back in 1997 as name #1, starting an apprenticeship at a tattoo shop, I used that name  until 2005 ish, when I decided to study painting and realism. I found that my old clientele would not let go of olschool, tribal and asian tattoos that I was doing a lot of, so a name change and clientele shuffle seemed necessary to be able to pursue Painterly and realism Tattoos which is what I wanted to do at the time. Many other Tattooers did it, why not me. I wrapped up projects and transitioned into name #2. For years I worked almost for free, to try and figure out how to apply painterly tattoos and realism Tattoos to the skin, at that time, colour realism and such was not around yet. No one around me was doing it at the time, and the term painterly and realism did not exist as far as I knew in Tattooing and was non existent in Tattoo magazines. I worked for years under name #2. As a side note, life happened, politics got involved and I had to leave because of political harassment which had nothing to do with tattooing.

I started working again at a new place with professional name #3, and a group of us hired an internet consultant company to help set up, blogs, websites, twitter, and more things with great gusto. From the past,  I was threatened that if I did not take everything off the internet, I would regret it and suffer great harm . Having a backbone and integrity , I refused. the Trolls, were unleashed upon me, those who love to divide this from that and get everyone fighting over nothing. The situation became so bad, my family, friends, coworkers,  clients, were all experiencing nonstop harassment, by way of social media, email and the telephone. The trolls set up multiple, and I mean dozens of accounts in name #3 as doppelganger accounts, and apparently were harassing people under that name and others. I myself was receiving a barrage of harassment under accounts with what looked like my professional name #3 and others. One night in particular, in just one night, 20 places on the internet, were populated with various false accounts of wrongdoing by someone with Professional name #3, with several twists to the false story. And on and on it went. False claim after false claim, on and on it went. I have no idea the amount of chaos and turmoil which was caused by the internet trolls, but it went on for a year and more, they set up websites, special facebook hate pages, on and on it went. People were threatened and given ultimatums, to disassociate with me or be harassed further, or they would ramp up to every conceivable way to rat someone out to the government, and be under every possible scrutiny and more.

I will not go into detail, to avoid copy cats, but basically The harassment generally started off with outrageous claims that were unbelievable to most, and often were stripped by site owners, then the post became more sophisticated, with alluding to things indirectly. They worked really hard to make simple straight forward normal tattoo practice seem, odd and nefarious, like taking a deposit before designing a large custom tattoo, or that having a private studio was somehow suspicious. I used pseudonyms to protect my family from just this type of harassment, and to maintain a certain level of privacy, which is actually historically common in Tattooing.  Somehow if I used a pseudonym it was evil and suspicious, a private studio was scary and sketchy, and to take a deposit before spending hours in design for a complete custom tattoo project was outrageous, greedy and must be avoided at all cost, who knows what would happen next. They painted and twisted common every day tattoo things into the worst thing ever if I did it. Total double standard.    

I eventually found out from a security tech friend that three groups were involved, one was a group of hobby to the point of professional trolls, who did this almost to everybody they could, and I was just the latest victim, group 2 was just a bunch of copy cat followers and kids seemingly trying to look cool for their tattooers and older friends and there was a mystery 3rd group that was way out there, probably associated with my political history, colin tel pro type stuff.

There was a point where everyone I knew was becoming a victim to this harassment and it seemed unfair to everyone else and just no longer feasible to continue on with Professional name #3, so I folded it along with all the web content.

To this day, people still cannot seem to get it, that the internet entity Troll harassment groups and me are two completely separate things. I do not know how to correct such a situation, it is beyond my control and what is amazing is that people will not just ask me directly, they just whispers behind my back, snicker and spread the word. What is wrong with these people. Do they not realize the harm it is causing.

Anyway for a while, I started working at a street shop that was a walk in only for while, and then took some more time off. I just recently started working again, after completing several tattoo Artist reference books, and setting up a site to help other tattooers get their own art out there, raise funds for charity and wanted to further help start something different, hence where I am working now, for the time being.

I joined this forum under my current working name, this time I think I will ride it into the grave, but who knows. What is in a name anyway.

I am the real deal, anyone on this forum is welcome to come see me, challenge me with an art project and post the results to be judged by everybody, here. I am honest open and true. My work will prove itself, regardless of the name I use. I have worked really hard to get where I am, and deserve the chance to prove myself in a fair environment and be judge by what I can actually do, not by what other people would make up about me on the internet . Here I am. I am trying to get better every day and make every tattoo better than the last. Fair is fair, isn't it.

I thought time would make the situation better, but when I go to tattoo conventions, I can meet new people and have great conversation and make good connections. People's real world experience with me is one where they can see I am genuine, honest, humble and eager to learn and develop artistically . I come back later and the same people I talked to will not look me in the eye anymore, they cannot talk anymore and suddenly have other things to do.

Without this information drop in between,  my interactions would continue on, same as before, until someone, drops some sort of smear bomb in there, and it is all over for me. this is not just conventions, but just regular meetings with tattooers. Everything is fine and whammo.

this black cloud on my reputation is one that I did not earn nor deserve, it was created by a group of trolls on the internet. Anyone could have this experience, especially other tattooers could experience the same thing at any time, where a good reputation online is important.

I do not know what to do about it, I cannot prove my innocence, one cannot prove a negative and, as time goes on this is still an issue. When I talk to people I am waiting for the switch to be thrown.

I cannot just ask people, hey did you hear about the terrible things said about me, let's talk about it in case you did not.

If you are a tattooer reading this, then think twice before repeating some rumor, you heard or read on the internet, because the next time around you might be the subject and would you not like other to just keep their mouths shut and not repeat that stuff. When a tattooer reads an anonymous post on the internet then repeats it, that lend credibility to the completely false, claim, after all you must believe it, why else would you repeat it.

Without the internet my reputation would be based upon the years of happy clients with great tattoo projects, but with the internet and trolls, this is a different game.

I cannot be the only one who has suffered internet harassment and I will not be the last, so considering all the above and the internet being around for a while, what do you think is the way to deal with internet reputation.

I think opening a dialogue on this subject is a step in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Edited by Charles.M

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48 minutes ago, marley mission said:

honestly with all your troubles you have described

i get why you are turned off to internet, social media, etc

but then...why are you here

also - stop with these long winded posts man

keep it short and simple

i think part of the issue here is you say waaaaay too much

this /\  ,,,

personally I see a post that long and there is no way I will read it,I just pass it by.

 

@Charles.M maybe a personal blog would be a better place for you and your thoughts.

Edited by Dan

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t

57 minutes ago, marley mission said:

honestly with all your troubles you have described

i get why you are turned off to internet, social media, etc

but then...why are you here

also - stop with these long winded posts man

keep it short and simple

i think part of the issue here is you say waaaaay too much

 

I wrote this with a heavy heart, and rewrote his many times trying to be short, but, it is complicated and a difficult subject to just throw at people without some introduction. If you think it is tough to read, try living it.

I am here because the internet came into my professional life, in the real world, and maybe I can find resolve or allies in this here, I have the courage to try.

Maybe, sharing my story I can help others...

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I read it all the way through - and I'm willing to take it at face value as you wrote it. I've seen other people decimated by social media - either because their reputations were killed or they took it too personally.

Post your work as you can. Let us get to know you as you are - not as others portrayed you.

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10 minutes ago, Devious6 said:

I read it all the way through - and I'm willing to take it at face value as you wrote it. I've seen other people decimated by social media - either because their reputations were killed or they took it too personally.

Post your work as you can. Let us get to know you as you are - not as others portrayed you.

 

thank you.

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1 hour ago, Dan said:

this /\  ,,,

personally I see a post that long and there is no way I will read it,I just pass it by.

 

@Charles.M maybe a personal blog would be a better place for you and your thoughts.

I am with these guys. There is no way I am reading it, and you should probably start a blog.

I wouldn't trust an artist who doesn't post at least some of his work on the internet. It's 2016. Step into the 21st century. And how could we see your work since we have no idea where you tattoo? It's a little weird.

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Come on, man.  Don't go around pretending that you're being victimized here when you have a history in this forum of not only ripping this place off, but ripping off other tattooers too.

 

 

Edited by Graeme

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your unfounded and erroneous accusations prove my point.

I ask you?  have you ever me met in person?

Is direct observation the reason for your claims?

the reason you are saying what you are, is because your belief is based upon the smear campaign that was waged on me, not because of my actions.  you now and others are perpetuating this unearned cloud on my reputation which I am trying to break free of.

Being a good tattooer who respects others and works hard to be a great artist, seems to not count for anything, since you read something on the internet or were informed by someone who's source was the same, do you see my point?

No tattooer was ever ripped off by me and this forum was not either, to say so is untrue.

this is my first account on this forum, so dragging post from other users on this site or off the internet somewhere and throwing them at me is a waste of time.

What you may believe and the truth are no always the same thing, please allow for a correction.

this is not about me and you, this is about people's professional reputations being ruined online, by smear campaigns, which seem to work, the thing is they work on anybody, I am just another victim. I have the courage to come out and call it what it is and bring this awareness to others so that we all can grow the tattoo scene in the right direction.

I am allowing that you were misinformed, why not make a correction and allow me to be judged by my actual deeds? Isn't that fair?

 

 

 

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