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Betshy Paola Sanchez Marrugo Flickr via Compfight cc

Over the last week, I have been learning more about digital citizenship, my very own digital identity/presence, and my eyes have been opened to some horror stories of people who have been exploited online. I feel like there is so much to say about this, but I do not even know where to start. But I guess I will start by saying that I am starting to realize that the online world is larger than I thought and that it gives people access to things that can have a very negative impact on your life because once it is put online and shared you are not able to undo it. It is there permanently.

An example of this is the story of Amanda Todd. This week, I was made aware of her story by watching a video called the “Sextortion of Amanda Todd”. In this story I was made aware that once something is posted online, people can then use that against you by cyber bullying you or causing you to be cyber bullied by others who see what has been posted. This story makes me sad that this incident came down to Amanda taking her own life, but this just shows how people need to be educated about being more cautious about what they do online because someone else can take that and put it online where others can see it, even though you did not give permission for them to do so. I can see from this story that Amanda was seeking attention and “Viral Fame” for her music, but then she went too far and that didn’t end the way she wanted it to.

Though viral fame can launch a lot of people’s careers like celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Rebeca Black, Psy, Susan Boyle, and many others mentioned in this article, it can also do a lot of damage in the sense that it can create a lot of “Viral Shame” if things go wrong. For example, there is a price of public shaming on the internet that Todd Leopold talks about in his article here. He shares about many different people being shamed online for their online mistakes and shares that people are not as forgiving online as they are in person. Monica Lewinsky is an example of someone who experienced this viral shame, but she was brave enough to get through that shame by sharing her story here in this TED Talk. What I took away from her talk was that shame cannot survive empathy. Even though she experienced viral shame, she was able to move forward when people showed her empathy. I also think that it is important for everyone to know the difference between speaking up with intention and speaking up for attention. We need to all be aware of our intentions when we post or reply to others online. Justine Sacco also experienced great viral shame and it is explained in Jon Ronson’s video that one tweet can really ruin your life. This makes me think that I need to make sure that I am cautious about what I tweet about or put online. Also, as a future educator, I need teach my students to be aware of the consequences of posting inappropriate content online.

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