Many people are hoping to go viral someday – or even today! It does happen, but very rarely does it happen organically without an organized plan to get there.
When an issue goes viral across social media it starts a feeding frenzy that can be used to drive change – IF we know how to take advantage of what is happening.
The major media has jumped all over an IndieGoGo fundraiser started by a blogger – most likely due to the compelling video – but possibly because someone involved recognized the viral content and had the connections to get it covered.
Over 30,553 people have contributed and 27,019 have commented.
And the numbers KEEP on climbing!
Search for bus monitor IndieGoGo or Karen Klein or any related phrases and you will see 5.7 MILLION results including dozens of videos, interviews on major television shows, and posts and articles on major news sites.
Sites covering this story include ABC, MSNBC, CBN, Forbes, Mashable, Gawker, Social Times, Yahoo! Finance, and blogs too numerous to mention.
This is what Jeff Crilley, author of the book Free Publicity,
calls a Media Feeding Frenzie – and NOW is the time to act
to use this visibility for the greater good!
Bullying is a serious issue in schools and workplaces. While the media is looking for new angles to cover, those who have projects and solutions should be volunteering – actually should have already volunteered the minute the subject heated up.
Examples of worthy causes that can benefit are the upcoming movie project The Bully Chronicles and those who offer Bullying Prevention Programs for schools and employers.
That the money keeps pouring in no matter how high it goes is
proof of what Joanne Wiebe at CopyHackers calls “herd behavior”.
Now that we have the attention of the general public and the media, we can use social media sharing to raise awareness and end what has always been a serious problem that social media has actually made worse.
Social media makes it much easier for groups to spread their hatred further and faster. This is driving so many people over the edge that there is actually a term for it: bullycide.
But still many don’t take bullying seriously. They should. In spite of some of these media stories saying bullying is down, recent bullying statistics say otherwise.
We can use social media to do evil – or to change the world for the better. It is up to us to decide.
UPDATE: MSNBC reports four bus monitor bullying students have been suspended for one year, ordered to to complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and will also have to complete a formal program in bullying prevention, respect and responsibility.
July 4, 2012: The amount raised is now at $678,457 with 16 days left to go. Comments are at 27,412 and contributors at 31,191.
July 11, 2012, Amount is now at $680,530 with 10 days left to go. Comments at 27,450 and contributors at 31,307.
I agree 100% about using our voices and websites to shut down bullies, but how far can you go before you become the bully?
It is all in the authority in your voice. I’m sure all of us – at least those of us who are older – remember that look that stopped you dead from your Father or a coach or even an older relative. The difference between speaking out as an authority and being a bully is respect. Even if someone is behaving as badly as those boys were, it is still never acceptable to call people names or degrade them. The point is to call attention to their BEHAVIOR and make it clear it is not acceptable.
The Feeding Frenzy phenomenon isn’t new, of course… we called it Mob Mentality in my day. 😉 Sometimes it develops into a lynching, sometimes into a massive support effort, such as was the case here. Emotional responses are always at the heart of things, and the Internet has simply sped up the spread of such things so much that we had to coin a new phrase – viral – to do it justice. The amplitude is greater, but its character is the same.
As you say, we can choose to hitch our wagons to a lynch mob, or we can put our energy to better use, promoting positive action. Personally, I’ll opt for the latter. But I think it’s important to remember that in either case, there’s still a certain “mindless mob mentality” in play. All too many people simply find it easier to be led, rather than think for themselves, as there’s a certain amount of validation in the “but everyone was doing it” mindset.
As was the case with the fellow that initiated the fundraising effort for the unfortunate victim of these ignorant urchins, some naysayers/skeptics will often surface to seek ulterior motives, fraud or complicity (a fella could get rich in our society with a tinfoil franchise). He probably didn’t see that coming – this time. That he’s willing to continue his efforts on other fronts, now knowing what to expect, is admirable.
The bullying issue, in my opinion, is just a result of people seeking validation in the easiest way they see at hand, by taking advantage of their own perception of strength (none of these kids would have acted this way without the support of others, I’m fairly certain) and the perceived weakness of the victim (I’m equally certain they wouldn’t have done this to the football coach).
Thanks for weighing in, Doc. Both the woman involved and the blogger who started the fundraiser will be dealing with the aftermath – both positive and backlash – for a long time to come. The world is full of people who rush to pile on board and also people who suspect everyone.
I have a different opinion on the cause of bullying. We as a society tolerate it too much and some actually enable and encourage it. Few take it nearly seriously enough.
I don’t think we have differing opinions on bullying at all. I was simply stating what I see as the motivation/cause of it. I’m so intolerant that if I’d been on the bus and heard that garbage, I’d have ended up in jail!
That serious enough for you? 😉
We’re from roughly the same generation, Doc, when it was never socially acceptable for a man to hit a woman (except in movies) and before kids started having their parents arrested for spanking them. I was hoping we could find some middle ground between beating children with belts and tree limbs and not making them behave at all, but maybe that was just too much to hope for.
I suspect if either of us were there it wouldn’t have gotten far enough for you to end up in jail because they wouldn’t have gotten more than a sentence out before they got shut down. That assumes they are only verbal bullies. Today there are actually children who get physically violent, and for those you almost have to have a physical response of at least deflecting or restraining them.
Many older people probably have no idea how bad things have gotten. Some common sense really needs to be found before we have even more police being called to arrest and tazer elementary school kids. (No, I’m not making that up. It is actually happening.)
Well said, Doc Sheldon. I agree wholeheartedly with your articulate response.
I feel awful about the woman who was bullied, but the amount of money raised for her is ridiculous. There are much more deserving nonprofits and individuals who can use it. I hope that she is sensible and donates a large portion of it.
A report in the New York Times said,
[…] ~ and I offer as proof the Bullied Bus Monitor story I wrote about on Social Implications.in Social Media Feeding Frenzies about an IndieGoGo fundraiser started by a blogger with a modest $5000 […]