How would you like to be the source of the next Internet meme? Sounds great right? For one 22 year old, it didn’t turn out so well. In this instance, the source of harassment is Ellie who on the surface appears to be a typical teenage girl. However, thanks to a forum thread that was started on a Bodybuilder’s forum, her online persona has changed for the worst.
The thread starts out with a user publishing pictures of his alleged girlfriend who is dressed in skin baring attire. The rest of the photographs show off the teenager in various poses around and inside a red vehicle. While the photographs are of an innocent nature, if you don’t happen to have a perfect body, the Internet will let you know about it and boy, they let this teenager have it. After these photos were published, hundreds of people within the forum thread began to photoshop the photos and started turning them into parodies. It seems as though no one had a nice thing to say about this woman simply because of her physique.
The thread and the associated bashing became so popular that at one point, it became the 23rd hottest URL according to the Alexa rankings.
The forum thread ended up with over three million views! How would you like to of had a Google Adsense block within that thread? Despite this event actually occurring, there are two facets to the story which make one lean towards the entire thing to be nothing but a joke. For starters, the alleged boyfriend states that you should ignore the dates published on the photographs as the camera had not yet been configured. The date says 2004/01/10. The second thing that is fishy with this meme is that the title under the original thread author states “brb makin epic threads”. Put these two facts together and it seems like this could all be a setup.
But then, Ellie’s latest blog entry on her MySpace page actually makes the entire saga believable as it seems as though she confronts those who have taken part in this meme. Ellie writes:
I didn’t post the original pictures. I gave my friend permission to do so. Neither of us knew the extreme you crazy people would take it to. It was just us playing around with a camera and having a lot fun. Gosh, so sue us.
This leaves many to believe, including myself that this event is factual.
What has happened to this 22 year old is a sad reminder that there is a dark side to the web. The pictures she had published were never meant to be used in the manner that we see them being used within the various forum threads. This also goes to show you that no one knows what the next Internet sensation may be. Despite the nature of this event, these are the types of things that interest advertisers on the web. Just imagine what it would be like if their site, service, or product were the ones being shared and talked about across the web. What happened during this event is the type of hidden power that advertisers would love to figure out how to grapple.
For those new to the web, welcome to Chaos Theory.
What do you think about this entire situation? What would you do or say if you were put in Ellie’s shoes? Lets talk it over in the comments.