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How Not To Be a Creep on Social Media

A Beginner's Guide for Men--and anyone else who needs it.

You see it every day. Somewhere, someone is out there making women (or femme presenting folks--I see you too) uncomfortable, and in the process making other men look bad. Frankly it's an epidemic everywhere on the internet. Play a game on XBOX Live and there's a woman on one of the teams, chances are she's being sexually harrassed while she kicks everyone's ass in Halo. Or she's streaming on Twitch and getting told to take off her clothes while she's busy trying to DM a game on a D&D channel.

And god forbid she happens to make her way over to Twitter. Her DM's are probably full of unsolicited dick pics and unwanted propositions. Half the comments on every post are at least suggestive. And if she's brave enough to post a selfie, chances are some creep is bookmarking it for when he's alone later. Ew.

But just today alone I saw one author I follow and respect post a reel on Instagram asking men to stop soliciting her in her DM's or commenting suggestively on her posts. Later this same day I saw another author I follow and respect post a blog about what it's like to be a woman on social media and having to deal with all of this harrasment while just trying to sell books.

Literally none of this is acceptable behavior. Though I imagine that if you're a man who's reading this, you already know that. Sadly, the target audience for a post like this will never read it. Chances are they don't even know how to read, which makes the fact that the follow all these women who are authors even more mind-boggling. Maybe they got lost on the way to Pornhub, I don't know.

And that's just what I saw today. I'm sure there were dozens of other posts by many women I follow and respect effectively saying the same thing. I know I see this sort of thing online almost every day. Unfortunately, too many of my fellow men won't listen to them. But I have never been shy about calling out this kind of behavior when I see it. So I figured I'd give it a shot in blog form whilst breaking it down in an easy to remember format--do's and don'ts. And because no one should ever have to make a post like this, we're gonna put some photos that look like they were ripped right out of a really bad mandatory work Powerpoint presentation in there to REALLY get the point across.

So let's get started, shall we?

DO: Compliment a woman on her choices or her talents. "I love what you've done with your hair," or "That's a great poem," are both perfectly acceptible ways to compliment a woman online that you have never met.

DON'T: Ask her to take her clothes off, tell her she has great (insert body part here), or attempt to solicit sexual favors. That's Creepy.

DO: Like her posts and interact with her. Especially if you have common interests. For example, if you are both authors. Talk about that!

DON'T: Bookmark or ReTweet her selfies. That's Creepy.

DO: Promote the works of people you like and respect. A rising tide lifts all ships after all!

DON'T: Promote women's works as a way to try and slide into their DM's. That's Creepy, Dave Westfall.

Yeah. That's right. Fuck you Dave. We haven't forgotten about you. Creep.

DO: Follow all types of people from all walks of life in order to broaden your horizons and meet new people.

DON'T: Follow only women online. That's Creepy.

DO: Build a network of like-minded individuals who can help you learn and grow, and whom you can do the same for them.

DON'T: Form unhealthy imaginary relationships with people you do not know. Do not try to dig up information on them so that you can "be closer to them." That's Creepy.

DO: Treat others with the same level of respect you would like to be treated with.

DON'T: Be a dick. It's really that simple.

So there you have it. Hopefully none of you actually find this guide handy--because if you do, you're not the type of person I want following me. Women are fifty percent of the world's population with their own hopes, dreams, and goals--not objects for creepy men to use and throw away. They're human beings, just like you.

Do better. Be better.

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