What a week for social media (YouTube to be specific) with three breakout certified viral sensations. We saw the good when a bully got what he deserved in Australia, the bad when a tween music video appeared and was so bad it was good, and the ugly when a college racial rant erupted on the web:
We first heard about this video a week ago when everyone on Twitter saw “Bully Fail” as a trending topic. For those not familiar with the “fail” Internet meme click here to educate yourself. Curiosity often gets the best of us so we clicked to see what people were saying about it. For anybody who has ever been teased or bullied, it’s a vindicating video where the bully gets what he deserves. Things took an interesting turn when YouTube removed the video and we had to look for it on lesser-visited video sites.
A question I heard over and over again this week was, “Who is Rebecca Black?” By the end of the week and 25 million YouTube views later, it became quite clear. Rebecca Black is a female version of Justin Bieber whose dad supposedly financed her music video for her first single “Friday.” You couldn’t get on Twitter without seeing her name trending or being tweeted. In fact, at one point “Fried Egg” was trending because some say that’s what the chorus of her song sounds like. Time Magazine called Friday, “A Whole New Level of Bad,” but the video’s momentum doesn’t seem to be stopping. Could this be a case of something being so bad it’s good? Her single recently cracked the top 100 on iTunes as well. It’s a perfect example of social media turning into big dollars. Well-done Rebecca! I guess the song wasn’t so bad after all.
This viral hit of the week took place on Friday when a UCLA junior posted a vicious video rant making racial slurs about Asian students at UCLA. Quickly realizing her misjudgment, Alexandra Wallace removed the video. However, it was too late. Someone had already saved it and re-posted it. By the time the weekend was over, it had been viewed by millions of people all over the world, the student body at UCLA was in an uproar, and it was a viral media frenzy.
Alexandra had a few things going against her that truly propelled this video past the thousands of racist rants on YouTube. She had blonde hair and wore a revealing top, she did it at UCLA whose student body is heavily connected to social media and has a large Asian student body, and she did it in the media capital of the world — Los Angeles! The video took on a life of its own with countless parodies on YouTube (this one is the most popular with over one million views). The whole affair had far reaching consequences, including Alexandra receiving death threats and verbal abuse, which led to her decision to leave UCLA. It shows that if you aren’t cautious about how you use social media, your entire life could change forever.