By now you’re probably familiar with the YouTube footage of the anonymous blonde girl chucking newborn puppies into the river. You’re probably outraged, as am I, and have probably said out loud to yourself or others, “I want to throw her by the neck into the river.”
The sheer hatred for this young woman spread as quickly and as thoroughly across the ‘Net as the video itself. Facebook groups wanting to physically harm this girl popped up within hours after the video’s first appearance. Director Michael Bay offered a $50,000 reward to anyone with information leading to her capture. Hundred of blogs have posted angry comments about this person, comparing her to a “young serial killer.”
As a dog owner, the footage both disgusted me and broke my heart. It also got me to thinking about how both dangerous and helpful the Internet can be. Helpful because the numerous postings of the video will probably lead to this girl’s immediate arrest. Dangerous because it might also lead to real physical harm done to this individual.
Cyber stalking and Internet bullying are two very real problems that exist in today’s society. The Internet can be used as a tool to create a mob mentality-scale of hate directed towards one person. Posting an inauthentic YouTube video about how Sally is a slut or a blog about how Henry ripped so-and-so off is the 20th century equivalent of tar-and-feathering a person and parading them down Main Street. Despite being guilty or not guilty, that person’s reputation will probably be damaged for a very long time.
As a twenty-something, I recognize the power the Internet has over my generation. Gen Y was the first generation to grow up with the Internet, and we are well-versed in the sometimes soul-crushing peer pressure it can place upon a person. You can literally destroy a person’s good name by simply putting false information about them out there on the Internet. The ‘Net is the eye of the world, and if you post something about somebody with a negative slant, regardless if they are a good person in real life, the world will start viewing that person in just that kind of bad lighting.