When I was in online sales full time, about twice a year I would run into a complete psycho. That came mainly from dealing with the public through email so often- if you play those odds you eventually get someone who is a light bulb short of a candelabra. But, I've been writing part time for several years and full time for two and never met a real nut case through writing until this week.
I have a few hubs over at HubPages and write one every so often when an idea for one occurs to me and I'm not busy with something else. They are mainly to entertain myself and blow off a little steam by voicing my own opinions. When you write for others full time I believe you need some type of outlet to express your own thoughts. Hence, many writers keep blogs or write AC articles and the like.
Anyway, one such hub is extremely opinionated and concerns some celebrities that I think are useless. Posh Spice apparently has a psycho admirer because someone started sending comments through the hub over and over again this week. That hub has been up for almost a year without any problems, but this guy apparently just ran across it or just got off his medication. Either one.
The messages started out rude and soon escalated to verbal abuse. They then went to threats. Once the threats started I wrote to HubPages about it and they responded extremely quickly. I'm not sure what they actually did but they said he will not be contacting me again, and he hasn't.
The lesson: never say anything bad about Posh. Ok, that's probably not the lesson, but it is a reminder not to run around the internet putting your name and contact details everywhere you go. I see a lot of people who do this and I wonder how necessary it really is. There are a lot of writers engaged in branding and believe that their own name should be the brand.
Branding is important, but think about the possibilities. Is there another way to brand yourself? I use initials most of the time when publishing something under my own name. I also use pen names on HubPages, Triond, Squidoo and sites like it. A pen name is something that can be branded just as easily as a real name, and it's a good deal safer. Just a thought.