The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has published a fascinating look at why the story of Karen Klein, the bus driver who was mercilessly bullied by middle school students in Greece, N.Y., went so viral.
Among other things, the story says, viewers of the YouTube video shot on the bus identified with Ms. Klein, who is a senior citizen and who didn’t fight back.
“This is a glance into the heart of darkness of the human spirit,” said Syracuse University media professor Robert Thompson in the D&C piece. “But it’s not a serial killer, it’s our own kids.” Everyone loves an underdog.
Even more interesting, from strictly a social media point of view, is that the video only had a few dozen hits on YouTube until Daniel Kiernan posted it on Reddit, a social networking site.
“Users on a second site, 4Chan, picked up on it, and soon, links were being posted to Facebook and Twitter, and views on the YouTube video were growing exponentially. By Friday, the video had amassed 4.2 million views…”
The Democrat and Chronicle also notes Rochester’s two other popular local YouTube sensations — when Jason McElwain, an autistic high school senior, scored 20 points in a basketball game, and when Emily Good was arrested for filming a traffic stop.
Timing is everything. When McElwain scored those points in a Greece Athena High School basketball game in 2006, Facebook had only 10 million fans and Twitter hadn’t even been born. (A segment on ESPN actually vaulted him into the national spotlight.)
Meanwhile, Ms. Klein’s popularity has grown so much as a result of social media, that more than 29,000 people have donated $648,000 (as of this writing) to a fund established by Indiegogo.com, a fundraising website that didn’t even exist until 2008. Ms. Klein was making $15,000 a year as a bus monitor.
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OK, so while I sift through the dozens of Obama emails I’ve received today asking for my help calling voters in one last push, Google has done another great video meant to encourage anyone out there who still might be apathetic about voting (could there be people like this?) to get out there and pull the lever in the most exciting landmark election I can remember.
Again, they’ve called on well-known faces (and some apparent help from Steven Spielberg) to make a fun, well-paced video that’s the sequel to the “Don’t Vote” video released earlier. Check out the latest installment here, and tell me that Sacha Baron Cohen doesn’t crack you up:
Happy voting. I hope to see you there on Tuesday.
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My daughter is about to step into young womanhood, frantically working through her final year at Loyola College in Baltimore, embarking on a nerve-wracking internship with an investment bank, and shopping with her Mom this weekend for business clothes required for a young woman on the cusp.
She’s gorgeous, smart and hard-working. But she’s also lucky, living in a country and society where the efforts of young women are valued and encouraged. Since I’ve been on a social change kick these days, I recently stumbled across a website with good intentions aimed at girls ages 15 to 24 who aren’t as lucky as my daughter. The Girl Effect is dedicated to improving the lives of young girls in our world, particularly those in developing countries. Browsing through the site is a humbling experience.
Here’s what The Girl Effect says:
Girls living in poverty are uniquely capable of creating a better future. But when a girl reaches adolescence, she reaches a crossroads. Things can go one of two ways for her — and for everyone around her.
Among other things, The Girl Effect Fact Sheet lists some disturbing statistics about girls living in developing countries:
1. More than 600 million girls live in developing countries.
2. One-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.
3. One girl in seven in developing countries marries before the age of 15.
4. Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide.
5. 75 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds living with HIV in Africa are female.
6. When a girl in a developing country receives seven or more years of education, she marries 4 years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
You can donate money to Girl Effect, publicize its efforts (particularly on your website or blog), join its FaceBook page, and simply learn more about the imperiled future of girls on our planet.
You might want to begin by watching the Girl Effect video here.