I ran across a story on CNN.com that I need to share as a social media enthusiast, but more as a dad.
The post “The Force is With You, Katie” recounts a really touching story of how a little girl was teased (call it what it was, bullied) about her love for Star Wars, then became a rallying point for thousands of other kids and adults to share their stories and their support. I’ll not recount the story here – it is worth taking a few minutes to read it.
I have two girls and feel very lucky that they have not had this kind of experience. The image of Darth Vader turned them off of Star Wars from the start (a shame, because it is still my favorite movie series), but they have eaten up just about every super hero cartoon available. Their super hero fandom has never been a problem for them, but it’s not much of a stretch to imagine them being in Katie’s situation.
That’s the dad in me sharing the story. Here’s the social media tie in — Katie’s mom wrote about her bullying story on her blog. The story was picked up by another blog, and off it went. In very short order, this little girl (and her mother) who was in need of some support got it in spades. Thousands of comments, posts on other blogs, a Facebook campaign, a Twitter hashtag, national attention — it was quickly not just about her any more. Her story went viral.
Cyber-bullying has gotten a lot of attention in 2010, and for good reason. I am very happy to see this story about the same technologies doing exactly the opposite.