Social Media Revisited #FreeAlyssaBloechlBy Alyssa Bloechl • April 26, 2012 • Category: Opinions
Is a photo of a drunken 21st birthday acceptable to put online? You are 21, legal and for the most part in a socially acceptable situation. But it depends on the content of the photo, doesn’t it? If in a zoot suit doing a keg stand with a face covered with permanent marker, it’s considered a good memory worth photographing. But is it worth Facebooking?
Recently, I have been dealing with the immensity and the power of social media. The Internet has no limits, and something with no limits can burn a fire as powerful as the sun within minutes.
For those that are not clear as to what I’m referencing, pick up an Antagonist and read the satirical police reports. Mine is the first one listed; it is also the one that has gotten the most attention, considering I was allegedly spray painting song lyrics and yelling them at police officers.
In the last two weeks, I’ve come to completely rethink my Internet actions. As an aspiring journalist, the ever-changing world of social media technologies is going to be a prominent part of my professional life.
When this semester’s Antagonist was published, one of my friends took a photo of my report. There were over 70 likes on the photo and one share on Facebook. Students read it in the paper and it was discussed. All of this was done with the knowledge that everything written in the Antagonist is satirical, or fake. I was not at all concerned.
Then, last Wednesday, someone else Facebooked a similar photo. For some reason, this photo went viral. I did not learn of it until the next day, when another friend of mine shared it on my wall, asking if it was, in fact, real.
I found the original picture and learned that it had over 100 shares. Let’s just say, my phone was blowing up with concerned, congratulating and inspired texts. The photo made its way to Twitter and I gained multiple followers. By the end of that day, the photo had over 180 Facebook shares and who knows how many tweets.
I also learned the photo was sent to Ellen Degeneres’ “Funny Police Reports” segment on her show. The photo made its merry little way to Imgur and had over 80,000 views in a few hours.
I’m writing this Tuesday, almost a week after it went out, and total counts are as follows: shares on Facebook: 311 (this number does not include likes or comments); views on Imgur: 198,113; Reddit: 82 comments and seven separate posts (to my knowledge); Pinterest: multiple pins . . . no way to count them; Instagram: also multiple references; Twitter: many tweets and my own trend, #FreeAlyssaBloechl. I have a friend studying abroad in Australia, and she has friends there who have seen it.
This is the extent of my research, because, quite frankly, reading and following all the different references is very exhausting. Keep in mind, I tend to over think things, so I started to worry about my career and future. I have to now deal with the fact that if I want to be employed, and if it happens that employers find this, I may have to explain what it is or not even be considered. Also, think about Photo Editor Matt Ahasay. People think the poor guy is sexually assaulting people. He got an unlucky cut on the bottom of the photo that went viral.
We have the law on our side, because a simple background check will prove our innocence. The problem is too many people have found our “crimes” to be true.
Honestly, I feel some people will believe anything on the Internet. It’s too bad because it is a powerful tool and has potential to do good things for society. No one should have to go through what I am still dealing with. Since all of this attention has materialized, I have taken on the task of upholding my name. I even have contacted an editor on one of the online websites, and he published a statement written by me. My friends and family have been very helpful in posting, tweeting and just talking about how fake the report is, but you never know how many this will reach.
My story and my point is to always be careful of what you read and more importantly to be aware of the perception you are giving when interacting with online media. If the post that received so much attention had stated that it was fake, it may not have gotten this crazy.
For the record, my own brother/best friend thought it was real. No one wants this.