What happens when your personal photos go viral and you get attacked online?

Guest post by Barbara Reggio

Over on Offbeat Bride, we’ve talked about what happens when your wedding goes viral and people hate it. But what happens when your personal photos go viral and people seemingly hate YOU.

imageMy awesome Star Wars-themed maternity photo was featured on a bash site of awkward photos, and I read such comments as that my husband was orbiting the Death Star (he was kissing my big, fat, pregnant belly covered in Star Wars and music-themed henna designs) to others that compared me to Jabba the Hut.

At the time, I was devastated.

18 months later, I look back and I laugh my ass off. My photo must have been extremely awesomely geeky to have been featured on that website, and several of my new friends who I have told about this story have asked why I would have had them take the photo down, because the photo is so awesome, and they are jealous that they have never had anything worthy of going viral.

But the first few days, I contemplated hurting myself… I had just given birth, was suffering from postpartum depression, and this was the moment that someone messaged me on a baby forum asking if that picture was me, because it looked similar to another I had shared on the forums.

I guess my best advice, having been through this, is:

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Seek support of the ones who love you and your photo/video/blog post.
  3. Then find something to laugh about.

Realize how totally awesome you are that people are so jealous of you that they have to say mean things. They must be really insecure with their lives and themselves if they have to take time out of their days to belittle others.

And proudly display your photo within your home, not hidden away out of sight. Put it where everyone can see how totally awesome it is!

Have your personal photos ever gone viral? How did you deal?

Comments on What happens when your personal photos go viral and you get attacked online?

  1. Hey, your pic is awesome. But what I really want to know is where he got that book! I’ve never had anything about me go viral. I stay off the Internet. No pics, Facebook or tweets. But I did have depression after I gave birth and had to deal with crazy rude in laws. Luckily we both survived with out blowing anyone up. I’m glad you feel better and can find it funny now.

  2. I used to keep a blog on things I did. Outdoorsy stuff, some shenanigans and EMS rescue trainings. For the training stuff I wasn’t supposed to write about who I was training with so I made stuff up and wrote from the first person. Each post said it quite clearly at the end of the story. All of a sudden I am being attacked, so I wrote a clarifying post. Well it was too late for some psycho. For the next few months he opened accounts and all kinds of forums claiming to be me and making outlandish claims in my name. Total crazy stalker because he then went and made a web page admonishing me and all the things he was claiming in my name. Now that’s out there under my real name. It would cost me 3-4 thousand dollars to go after. The internet is filled with crazy.

  3. All I see is a couple excited to have a baby and share their obvious love of Star Wars. If people need to hurt you because you don’t fit into their mold- too bad for them. I think it is a sweet pic, and I’m glad you did not hurt yourself post partum.

  4. I used to have a web page about my wedding dress because I was proud of the fact that I had crocheted it myself. About 3 or 4 years ago, a friend alerted me to the fact that someone had found my page and posted it on Reddit because they thought it was cool. Many of the comments were complimentary, but a pretty significant percentage were derisive of my looks and/or my husband’s (“Why don’t you post pictures of HOT women?” and so on). Having working eyes and access to mirrors, I’m perfectly aware that I’m not conventionally attractive, and I made peace long ago with the fact that I’d never be a candidate for Miss America…but it still stung, and I had to stop reading the thread. I concluded that I much prefer invisibility to fame. Soon after that, I removed my pages and now only share stuff like that with people I actually know.

  5. This article almost made me cry. I just stumbled across it while I was looking at other things. It really upsets me that you were feeling so hurt straight after giving birth which should have been such a happy time. It’s really great to hear you are such a resilient woman. You can see the love in you & “baby daddy’s” eyes 🙂 I’m sure your child will have a wonderful future, basking in the unconditional love from it’s parents and learning such wonderful self esteem from mum. Congratulations xx

  6. I literally just saw the link to the bashing page (the title was something nasty along the lines of “15 maternity pictures thay will make you want to never have kids,”) and this photo, down in the suggested links from Outbrain at the bottom of another Offbeat Home & Life article 🙁

    I think the picture and the love in y’all’s faces are wonderful, I can totally see my man and I doing a photo like that! I’m sorry people suck, and that sometimes that suckiness manages to creep it’s way even past Offbeat’s awesomeness filters

  7. I understand your pain. On the internet, everyone thinks that they can say whatever they want and it has no lasting effect because it’s “anonymous.” I had a bad break up with my ex. I found out he was using some pretty heavy duty drugs. I tried to get him help and was only rewarded with him posting photos of me, nude, onto those anonymous boards (anonib, 4chan etc.). I had no legal right to take the photos down because they were taken by me and willingly distributed to my ex. The comments was horrifying, calling me a fat cow, a dirty so on and so forth and how I deserved to be mocked on the internet. I still have body image issues but working through them slowly. Screw those people.

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