No one ever sets out to write a 5 issue comic book script that spins off to become an app to help victims of harassment, but that’s exactly what happened with Fierce.
Fierce began life as a comic book about a collective of vigilantes who fight harassment. I want to create something that could help those facing harassment, but also make those who bully pause and think about their actions. To help them find a better outlet for their emotions that’s less destructive to others and themselves. I wanted to write something that makes an internet troll pause and ask, “What is it I’m really angry with?”
The intended structure is for me to write a self contained story arc for the first five issues (at the time of writing, I haven’t found an artist to collaborate with). Then, if it’s sufficiently successful, open up the comic to other writers who have stories of prejudice or harassment they’d wish to tell. I’m still working toward that goal, but the more I thought about the online harassment the more I wanted to be able to help. And that’s when I started to think about Fierce as not just a comic book, but an app.
Trolling on Twitter has become an endemic part of the platform; it’s so commonplace we’ve come to accept it’s an inevitable consequence of it’s use. One study found that, of 134,000 abusive social media mentions they recorded, 88% of them occurred on Twitter. But we shouldn’t have to accept this. I wanted to design a way to bring together victims of harassment with the millions of Twitter users who weren’t harassing them but were kind, decent people who would help if they knew what was happening.
Here’s a quick video to explain how it would work:
Facebook recently announced it was considering adding a ‘Dislike’ button; in that context, you can think of Fierce as an ‘Empathy’ button for Twitter.
Victims of harassment need to know they’re not alone, and that for every person willing to send a negative message there are many more who will send one that’s positive. Similarly, the harassers need to understand that their behavior is unacceptable, harmful and (ultimately) self destructive. Bully’s hardly ever have an issue with the individual they’re harassing, but are projecting an inner anger or fear onto that person rather than correctly addressing their emotions.
To find out more, you can follow the Kickstarter campaign to fund the Fierce app.