Process Post #3

It’s almost as if the term “a work in progress” was made for this course. Just when I think my website’s home page and menu tabs are all set, I realize the need to change something yet again.

Last week in class, we went over how to create a drop-down menu on our sites, in order to subcategorize the various bits of coursework required in this course from essays to mini assignments, memes and these very process posts. So with a little instruction over Zoom tutorial and some help from WPBeginner, I was able to create a PUB 101 Coursework tab to file each of those assignment categories under.

I’m not going to lie, there’s something about doing that which I found extremely satisfying. I guess it just pleases the Monica Geller in me.

With week three of this course being about “the online self” and our online voice, I was utterly amazed by the story about Newfoundland troll, Donny Dooley, who went identified for several years before just recently being unmasked as a man named Chris Petty. To think that one man with no visible motive or connections to his online victims could cause the grief and harassment that he did for so long is not only shocking, but also revolting. I can’t imagine what a person would get out of that for so long, while leading an ordinary life off screen.

I decided to look into the story a bit more afterwards, searching for reactions on Twitter or any further developments since the story was released in January. Besides people denouncing him on Twitter and praising journalist Drew Brown for finding his identity, there wasn’t much new information out there.

I did decide to look up his business, known as Mr. Music DJ & Karaoke Services, however. One Facebook page appeared to have been deleted, supposedly after the scandal, but I managed to find a current one with 44 likes. Without stooping to his low, I wanted to try my luck at reaching out to him to simply see if I could get any sort of response.

I initially sent the automatic Messenger prompt that read, “I have a question. Can you help?” It seemed innocent enough. After all it was his automated prompt. But when my message was left read but unanswered, I decided to take it one step further by mentioning the name Donny. Again, no response. Finally, a day later I threw one last Hail Mary, pleading with Donny Dooley to respond. Sadly, it went unread and I called off the game.

My one-way “conversation” with Donny Dooley.

I’m not sure what I really hoped to get out of my efforts, and even currently wonder how moral they were. But having been so fascinated by the DJ fa├žade that covered up his online abuse for so many years, I suppose I just wanted to try for a personal experience with the notorious troll. It seems like he’s learned his lesson or now has someone running else running his page, but what surprised me was the fact that three messages later, he still hasn’t blocked me on Messenger.

I might not have been hiding behind the cloak of anonymity that Petty or Dooley did for so long, but innate feeling of invisibility that empowers us on social media certainly inspired my decision to engage him. Sure, I have my real name on Messenger and a profile picture of myself visible, but there’s something about knowing the person on the other end can’t actually see you that gives you the courage to say or do things you otherwise might not.

Maybe not my finest moment, or my smartest, but it just goes to show that on the Internet, you really can feel both invisible and invincible.

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