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How Social Media Unexpectedly Transforms Relationship Building - Forbes


Stashed in: Relationships, Social Media, Awesome, Relationships, @michaeldsimmons

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On a recent Halloween, Caitlin Seida dressed up as Lara Croft, one of her favorite video game characters. Later that night, she posted a photo of herself to Facebook (see below). She thought nothing of it.

Little did she know that while she was asleep the photo was spreading across the Internet.

When she awoke in the morning, she quickly discovered the surprise. At first she thought it was funny. That was until she saw people’s comments (i.e., ‘Fridge Raider’ ‘What A Waste Of Space’).

This story represents people’s worst fear on social media; posting something that seemed OK in context, only to later turn into the subject of viral shaming. What makes this story scary is that it could happen to any us.

Our society is quickly moving from the broadcast era to the social media era and viral shaming is just one of the results.

However, there’s an even bigger implication. You should be aware of it, because it has a much larger impact on your life than you may realize.

She handled the viral shaming well: by owning it, with a sense of humor.

Caitlin’s story has an happy ending. After a period of shock and depression, she decided to write an article for Salon.com that actually became more viral than the original photo of her. In the article, My embarrassing picture went viral,  she owns her experience fully, even going so far as to repost the photo. She ends the article with sharing her lessons learned, “But I refuse to disappear. I still go jogging in public. I don’t hide my flabby arms or chubby ankles for fear of offending someone else’s delicate sensibilities. I dress in a way that makes me happy with myself. And this Halloween, I’m thinking of reprising my role as Lara Croft just to give all the haters the middle finger.”

Michael, this is a good article. The implications:

1. Anything you say or do online could spread, so make sure it represents you. 

2. If you see social shaming or cyber bullying, do not participate.

For number 2, I include in that the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.

Don't dump water on your head. 

Just donate quietly to ALS or any other cause and do not try to shame others into doing the same. 

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