Bullying in 2010 is out of control. Kids have the ability to destroy a life with the touch of a button. Bullying has taken on a new form that no longer consists of simply giving wedgies or throwing Slushy Drinks in the faces of Glee singers. And I should know – I just found out that I’m a Twitter bully!
Belittling someone is cruel, no matter what form it takes. But the internet has given the issue a whole new playing field.
Life-destroying insults can spread through an entire school in seconds – with the aid of social networking sites, such as Twitter.
Let us say an unconfident teen finally comes out of his shell, in a drama class; and he performs a monologue. His fellow students secretly record it on a cell phone. And they upload the monologue as a TwitVid’ on Twitter; and they add the caption, “What a loser”. These bullies then post the link to the video, which everyone else in the school has access to, on their cell phones. By lunch, the entire student body has witnessed this cruel example of cyber-bullying.
Twitter is the new playground. And there is a brawl happening at the virtual monkey bars at all hours of the day.
Students use Twitter to organize meeting places for fights. They create online surveys to vote for the ugliest/nerdiest student in the school. And they have the ability to spread rumors from one classroom to the next, without even leaving their seat.
Now, not every student does this. But the actions of one person can cause a huge impact and spread faster than retweets from Kim Kardashian.
This post does not hold the answer for putting an end to bullying; but we hope it shows parents, teachers, and school boards that bullying does not end when the fist fight is over. The internet holds many virtual scraps that happen in a matter of seconds, with the touch of a few buttons.
I must admit, I have recently been a participant in online bullying – which I felt was harmless in the moment.
Why did I assume it was harmless? …Because I tweeted about TV personalities! They don’t have emotions, right? They don’t see insults from viewers …right?
Wrong! I am a big fat jerk!
Here is the story:
Last week I watched a TV show called, ‘The Sing Off’. It is like American Idol; but the contestants are A Capella groups. There is one group called, “The Backbeats” who consist of a stacked roster of amazing singers. I thought, “I’ll make a little joke about them. They’ll never know. They are TV personalities.”
I tweeted this to my Twitter followers: “I hate the group, “The Backbeats” on The Sing Off. They seem like a bunch of drama queens who hate fun & each other.”
Not only did this vocal group see the tweet, but they responded to it with this YouTube video, where they address my mean tweet:
I feel horrible! People on TV have feelings too!
- Three Brand Fails That Prove Auto-Replies On Twitter Are A Bad Idea
- Would You Want To Follow Someone With A Handshake?
- Does Twitter Have What It Takes To Predict A Viral Tweet In Real Time?
- 5 Things Investors Can Learn About Twitter From The Facebook And LinkedIn IPOs