I am often amazed at the viral nature of the Internet. There is no better example than a handful of tweens who have chosen the way of Justin Bieber to become famous – self promotion on YouTube. Is this bad or good? Yes! I know, I know that’s not an answer, but let’s look at the latest good news/bad news story.
Tweens all around the world will tell you that Justin Bieber got his start by uploading videos to YouTube where someone noticed him and urged Usher to check him out. The rest, as they say is history. So, along comes a young lady named Rebecca Black who stars in her own video and uploads it to YouTube and iTunes with the help of ARK Music Factory. (See Wikipedia- Justin Bieber–Rebecca Black for full stories). So here’s the part that I find fascinating. Her video loads in February and goes viral by March. As of today almost 90 million people have watched this video. It has sparked hundreds of “response videos”, parodies and evidently a chance at a record deal. But all is not pleasant in this viral world. Some have lambasted her as “the worst singer ever”, people have criticized the fact that the teens in the video (who may not be 16) aren’t wearing seatbelts, sitting on the back of the car and driving, going to parties. It’s a video, kids! You watch them every day and laugh at the antics of others. Is it because she is pretty? Is it because we’re jealous? Is it because it has just become okay to try to tear down anyone who is successful and appropriate? What is wrong with us??? Why have we turned into a nation of “haters”? And, why are we adults setting such rotten examples (pick any topic: our government, Libya, taxes, the war – how do we show our children how to express our opinion?) ?
An interesting outcome of the video has been a form of cyberbullying that has one of the “extras” in the video as its target. She has been dubbed “that girl in pink”. In the video she is in the back seat of the car and hundreds have posted all over the world that she can’t dance. Well, Benni Cinkle (that’s her name) has chosen to respond with humor and a little website/blog of her own. She admits she’s never had a dancing lesson, but was excited to be in her friend’s video. She’s actually taken the whole experience of being the target of Internet bullying and offers some advice she calls an Internet Survival Guide – and it’s good.
Some days I think we all just need to get a grip on our opinions. And on other days – I’m excited to find an 8th grader who can laugh at unfair (and ridiculous) criticism and offer her thoughts to those who need someone to understand what they might be going through. Give it a look, encourage your kids to check it out. She’s already got 154,729 fans, and 1 more when I finish this…