Today’s post isn’t really food-related, but more blog-related.
I recently read this article on Rolling Stone about a girl who became an internet celebrity.
This girl goes by the alias of Kiki Kannibal. She was only 13-years-old when she registered into MySpace. Within three months, she had amassed 25,000 friends. Now, she’s famous. She’s adored all over Twitter (12,000 followers), a Tumblr, a Buzznet, a YouTube channel and two websites, one which she sells her own jewelry and apparel.
She’s also majorly hated. In fact, the catch-in blurb on the Rolling Stones cover was: “The Most Hated Girl On the Internet.”
Because when you’re just a tween posting sexual pictures of yourself, uploading videos of you dancing in panties…you attract lots of attention…the kind of attention that nobody wants.
Not only is this girl receiving death threats and hate comments every day, her family had to move because of increasing danger against her and her family. A few days after a death threat against her cat, the cat disappeared. Her house has been spray-painted “Regal Slut” and egged. But even before that, she hooked up with a 17-year-old she met online and got raped.
Now she and her family live in fear for their lives, and the abrupt move has caused her parents to go bankrupt. The stress and toil of it all has strained relationships within her family.
And yet…Kiki continues to be active online.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Because I’m thinking along the lines of: What. The. EFF?!
I can’t believe it. I’m writing about this because this article seriously disturbed me. I cannot believe someone who has been burned so badly by the Internet would still be so sucked into it. I cannot believe the parents of a 13-year-old would allow her to have free access to the Internet. And I cannot believe how cruel the Internet community can be.
It makes me really marvel at this high-technology, fast-paced, overwhelmingly public world we live in right now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a total geek and I love all things Apple and I spend the majority of my time online. But at the same time, I wonder how much is too much.
Even as a journalist, I’ve seen the double-effects of wireless technology. While there’s a greater demand for news and information, anyone can put out information. Now the readers want their news fast, free and entertaining, so it’s a great struggle for traditional journalism to decide how to accurately and ethically deliver this information while competing with the other mediums that dole out news for free.
Meanwhile, there’s us. Bloggers who post daily or weekly, sometimes private and personal stuff, basically trusting the readers with the inner details of our life.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to think of the online community as…well, a community. When I write and post, I imagine that I’m talking to a friend, someone who is nice and casual.
I love the feedback I get from my readers. I cherish the personal emails that I get. I enjoy “stalking” my fellow bloggers and sharing a brief conversation via comments.
So reading this article was highly disconcerting to me. Because I know at times, I do give out too much of myself. Sure, I’ve received a few nasty comments before, but they weren’t so bad that I had to move and hide in my house. But I couldn’t help wondering…if some of the things that Kiki suffered from happened to me…would I be able to stay away from the online world?
The answer is I don’t know. It makes me admit to myself that the seduction of the Internet is stronger than I think. We all like to think we’re in control, but maybe we just haven’t been in that position to choose yet.
And also, even though we are the ones who are creating and using this incredible online platforms, my opinion is that we (as in us humans) still don’t know how to control them.
For example, what do we do about these Internet predators and trolls? How do we bring justice to them, or should they be protected by the rights to free speech? Because that’s essentially why Kiki and her family cannot ask the authorities to persecute her harassers.
And another question: what do we do about the new generation? Should teenagers and tweens be allowed to use the Internet? I mean, let’s face it, they’ve got the maturity of a teenager. That kind of immaturity + the power and publicity of the Internet = Dumbassery + potential life-destroyer.
And yet another question directed at ourselves: can we control and behave ourselves while we’re using the Internet? Sure, the Internet is a learning process, in which you make mistakes and figure out what works and what doesn’t…but what if the damage is too big and too late? After all, anything on the Internet is permanent. Any unsavory mark made on the Internet against you is…forever.
Yup. Questions, questions and no answers. That’s the situation with our fancy high-tech world.