The PRice of shame

      55 Comments on The PRice of shame

While most current undergraduates were pre-schoolers when Bill Clinton’s affair with a White House intern dominated the headlines, they know Monica Lewinsky. As the president was being impeached, Lewinsky hid from the public, suffering shame, humiliation and abuse from people she never met.

Now, 17 years later, Monica Lewinsky has re-emerged. Ted, the renowned nonprofit “devoted to spreading ideas…in the form of short, powerful talks,” recently posted her presentation, “The Price of Shame.” In it, Lewinsky reminds us that her scandal was unique, noting, “It was the first time the traditional news was usurped by the Internet for a major news story, a click that reverberated around the world.” She laments the ease in which the new media can be used to ruin reputations.

Poised, well-spoken and convincing, Lewinsky was the perfect spokesperson on the dangers of online name-calling. “When this happened to me 17 years ago, there was no name for it. Now we call it cyberbullying and online harassment.

“Cruelty to others is nothing new, but online, technologically-enhanced shaming is amplified, uncontained, and permanently accessible,” she said. “Millions of people, often anonymously, can stab you with their words…and there are no perimeters around how many people can publicly observe you and put you in a public stockade…We have slowly been sowing the seeds of shame and public humiliation in our cultural soil, both on- and offline. Gossip websites, paparazzi, reality programming, politics, news outlets and sometimes hackers all traffic in shame.”

Lewinsky was point-perfect in her conclusion. “We talk a lot about our right to freedom of expression, but we need to talk more about our responsibility to freedom of expression. The Internet is the superhighway for the id, but online, showing empathy to others benefits us all and helps create a safer and better world. We need to communicate online with compassion, consume news with compassion, and click with compassion.”

Has the Internet, indeed, created a “culture of humiliation?” What should we be doing about it? And is Monica Lewinsky the right spokesperson for this issue? Your thoughts?

NOTE: Let me suggest you watch Ms. Lewinsky’s talk before sharing your comments here. You may find it instructive. — JM

55 thoughts on “The PRice of shame

  1. Jazmin Corrine Quinci

    Aside from her affair with the president, she would know what it is to be publicly humiliated. There is something to be said about using the internet to launch a smear campaign or to bully others. I’m not clear how bullying online works when there is the option to shut off a computer or close an account. As for the smear campaigns or being nasty online, there is not much that can be done. It is a good idea for people to use respectful tactics when expressing their opinions or addressing others. It’s important to keep in mind that attacking someone online is easy to do behind a computer screen. I often think of those drivers that rage, curse and threaten while in their vehicles. Ask them to pull over and they drive off. Like the idea behind “beer muscles”, people online get “pc muscles” where they act and talk a certain way but in other circumstances they would never have the courage. Online is the perfect platform to be a different person.

  2. biancaozz

    We are in the ever growing age of the Internet; where nothing is secret or sacred. While this makes for easy grounds for people to be humiliated and poked fun at, it also means that we must learn how to defend ourselves and come back from the other end of such humiliations – especially someone who is in the public eye.

    I think as a spokesperson for Ted, Lewinsky can continue on her path to repair her public image and have a successful career despite her historical scandal.

  3. lhk1329

    I completely agree that she couldn’t be a better spokesperson for the job. The Internet can be just as harmful and sustain long term repercussions for anyone involved in harassment and bullying. Monica Lewinsky may have made a poor decision seventeen years ago but I think her story deserves to heard. After all, as PR professionals its is our job to hear both sides of the story. I think its about time we heard hers.

  4. Nancy Haas

    Cyber bullying and “shaming” others via social media platforms is an epidemic. It effects children, teens, public figures and adults. Unfortunately, the internet has become a primary way to communicate. Online humiliation happens so often that the public is beginning to be desensitized. In regards to a spokesperson for this issue, Lewinsky raised many good points and spoke eloquently. However, there could have been many other suitable choices to make an equal impact. Using Lewinsky as a platform for cyber bullying may have been a strategic way to get people talking, but there are people without a tarnished reputation who could have done an equally good job.

  5. Chris Hoffman

    In my opinion, the internet has certainly created a culture for humiliation. The stories that gain the greatest traction are the ones that involve some sort of scandal. Once that scandal occurs, the general public jumps on a bandwagon and assigns blame and starts the shame machine. Being online allows for anonymity and a lack of repercussions for saying certain things. This allows people to say things that they wouldn’t be able to say in person.
    While I believe that Monica Lewinsky is the perfect spokesperson for this campaign, I don’t think that the public will feel that way. The public may think that the only reason that she’s doing this to garner support for herself or to try to clear her name. This isn’t the case, in my opinion. She can speak fully to the powers of cyberbullying, and she understands the process. In my opinion, she’s a perfect candidate.

  6. Chelsea Tennariello

    Unfortunately as time has passed and generations have grown older, people have taken advantage of the fact that they are behind a computer screen. The monitor often gives people the strength to say and do things that they would not typically do when confronted with a face to face interaction, which has lead to the cyber-bullying epidemic that has uncovered some very unfortunate events within society. I believe Monica would be a suitable spokesperson for something like online name calling having been a victim herself, however I believe there are many more spokespeople who may be more fit for the position as her scandal was very long ago and many things have changed and become worse since then.

  7. stacy05

    I believe the internet does create space for people to critique others. It also makes it very easy for these people to make up lies and be cruel because they can do it anonymously. It would be really difficult to find a solution. In the case of children, I would say it starts at home. Parents should teach their children certain values such as kindness and the respect towards others. But, in other cases adults are the ones doing it. Honestly, I think we became an insensitive society. I have friend who was bullied and I’ve seen firsthand how mentally it affects the victim. There are many campaigns out there trying to fight bulling. But, I think we still have a long way to go. I think Monica would be a good spokesperson she definitely suffered shame, humiliation and had to hide from the public for years. It’s a horrible way to live, I think her story ( suffering) touches a lot of people still to this day.

  8. kenpow2012

    I think she is a good spokesperson for this subject. Cyber bullying is a serious issues. The internet has created a place for where people you don’t know can harrass you on the internet using social media sites. She is a good spokesperson because she is harassed and made fun of all through our social media, pop culture and even music lyrics

  9. Nicole Garcia

    The fact that individuals can anonymously humiliate others on a massive scale, sometimes without knowing them, is one of the key factors cyber-bullying has become so prevalent.
    To lessen online harassment, there should be educational programs that inform individuals of both the dangers of bullying but also cyber-bullying.
    On the other hand, though Lewinsky’s the appropriate person to speak on this issue, Lewinski’s affair with president Clinton was not her first or final one, which to me tarnishes her credibility when she claims she only made this one mistake and thus shouldn’t be defined by it. However, there’s also much that can be said about President Clinton’s integrity not only because of the affair, but because of his bashing of Lewinsky’s prior to the blue- dress evidence.

  10. carsoncuevas

    I feel Monica is a good spokesperson for the issue due to the fact that she has been the victim of this type of bullying. While one could view the situation saying she made mistakes and therefore cannot be taken seriously, there is more that can be gathered from evaluating this situation. I think the bigger takeaway is not, she was wrong, it is that she was bullied. Due to the fact that this scandal occurred on such a public platform, more people knew about it. I think Monica is a good spokesperson simply because of the fact that she is a public figure, and now, as a public figure, she can use her spotlight to perhaps bring light to a critical subject she also can relate to.

  11. Rachel Tyler

    The Internet has created a place for people to critique each other. I believe because they are hidden behind a screen it gives them the power to say what they would not normally say to a persons face. Monica Lewinsky has dealt with this problem for 17 years and therefore I believe she is a good spokesperson. She has the experience therefore, she has the knowledge to help others going through similar situations.

  12. Hillary Alexandre

    Monica Lewinsky is a perfect match for the face of anti-cyber bullying. It is true that her scandal was the first wave of online defamation and reputation shattering. I feel that although Lewinsky did do something completely wrong, it should not have been all over the Internet for people to say whatever they would like. Not to be mistaken, Lewinsky’s actions would have been made public regardless. The difference is, if the information was solely in newspapers, the damage may have been less devastating. Everyone makes mistakes, and yes one in the public eye should be a little more cautious than the average Joe, but that does not give people the right to tear someone apart online.

  13. vfrazzzetto1

    The internet is the primary means through which people share their opinions, and the overall anonymity of its nature allows for harsher than necessary criticisms. Moderating the online opinion is good in theory, however in practice it would be hard for a victim of Monica Lewinsky’s experience to get through to those with offensive opinions due to the opinions that follow her. Using Lewinsky as the face of such a campaign is disagreeable due to the nature of her actions themselves.

  14. Marc Carganilla

    I feel as though using Miss Lewinsky for a ted talk sends a bad message from the PR department at the people who host these events. This is a stage that has set a bar by past speakers such as Hyeseung Lee a refugee survivor from North Korea, whereas Monica Lewinsky was involved in a political sex scandal she would not really be the best candidate to speak about cyber bullying, yes people criticized her online but she did it to herself I think in retrospect if the needed a better spokesperson for this subject they should’ve used a survivor of such bullying or even the founder of an organization against such.

  15. Mike Cox

    Everyone has there own opinions about Monica Lewinsky’s scandal with the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, even with these opinions i do believe she was a good spokesperson for the talk on cyber bullying. She experienced first hand what it was like to take abuse virtually by millions of people she both knew and did not know. This was the start of the “culture of humiliation” especially due to the internet and it is vital that we continue to express the need to be socially responsible for our freedom of expression.

  16. Michele Colletti

    I do believe that the internet is a form of really harsh criticism. Although the internet has many positive aspects to it and has influenced the human culture greatly it has also created a forum for humiliation for many people. I believe as the internet “grows older” and we grow smarter on how to use it properly, we will be able to teach the following generations the do’s and dont’s of the internet. Right now, we are trying to reach out to people morally by telling them how wrong it is to speak badly of others online, eventually i believe the words we say on the internet will become some what more of an ethics issue. For example, a doctor sharing patient information to anyone other than the patient is ethically wrong. Many people still have harsh opinions when it comes to Monica Lewinsky but i believe she has a great platform for discussing cyber bullying and online harassment. She was one of the first people to go through cyber bullying through the internet and even though she made a mistake which lead to her harassment i don’t think it matters, i believe she can still connect to the audience.

  17. Heather Lanci

    Monica is definitely right about the fact that the internet has created a culture in which it’s okay to say mean things because a person is anonymous and doesn’t have to see the repercussions of their actions on the people they bully. I think that she was a good choice for the talk because she experienced this on such a large scale, for one of the first times ever in history. Regardless of what she has done, she gave an important talk about cyberbullying, and delivered a message to many people who may otherwise not have listened.

  18. Priyanka Singh

    I think scandal in general is something we all consume with such intensity because we want to know just how extreme and compelling one or many people’s mistakes can be. I think Ms. Lewinsky is the perfect spokesperson for this issue, because she experience online shame in it’s earliest form. What’s even scarier is that online humiliation and shaming has gotten so much worse as technology allows people to hide behind their screens as they viciously attack others. I keep seeing these commercials for the new Unfriended movie, where 6 high school students are haunted by a girl who committed suicide after these students posted humiliating things about her on the internet. I think that movie, although it’s rooted in horror, has an underlying meaning that we need to be careful about what we post on the internet and what impact it will have on others that are directly affected by it. It’s time we stop shaming and start having a public conversation about online ethics.

  19. Vanessa

    I think that Monica is the perfect spokesperson for this, because her scandal is still be talked about today and referenced in numerous songs. There seems to be no escaping this for her – despite the good she is doing by speaking about the dangers of online bullying. Sadly, social media and other virtual platforms have turned the world into a “culture of humiliation” and inadvertently a society of cyber bullying. To be honest, I don’t know what can be done about it as sad as it is. For every five people that stand against it, there will be three more people who purposefully humiliate others for the sake of being a bully.

  20. elizah9

    The Internet has without a doubt been beneficial to our society, but it has also created a culture of humiliation. Nowadays, others are constantly picking on people through social media sites. It has become a huge problem in our society. I think that we need to bring more awareness to the issue and create open discussions where people feel free to express their views on the issue. I think Monica Lewinsky is the right spokesperson for this issue because she experienced it and can relate to others about the social issue.

  21. rrocha3

    The internet is certainly a forum for public humiliation and even victimization. Just recently, a fight broke out at a McDonald’s in Brooklyn. Instead of anybody jumping in to stop the incredibly one-sided fight, multiple videos were taken and then posted on the internet. Whether we have become desenstized to violence and shame due to constant spectating, or we have grown more cruel as a culture, there needs to be more conversation about the responsibility of freedom of expression that Monica Lewinsky references. As a society, we should look to help others, not highlight their suffering via the informational highway.

  22. dmeccariello

    Unfortunately this is the world we live in. It is so easy to angrily type something and post it on the web without thinking about the repercussions. People never think that celebrities are affected by or even read the mean things people post, however, that is not the case. I do find it interesting that the Monica Lewinsky scandal was wideley spread throughout the internet. I was very young at the time and did not think the internet was that prevalent yet.

  23. Rock(Shi Yan)

    Everyone have secrets. People want to keep their secrets, some secrets are good, and some secrets are bad. If you know some people’s secrets just keep that privacy, if not that is immoral.Privacy is something you know about that, or someone knows about that.
    Secret is something nobody knows about that.Privacy could help people to avoid the regrets thing. PR people could help people to figure out the bad things. But I prefer the Public Media people could have more morals.

  24. Daylen Orlick

    First things first, everything that she has brought up has and will always be an issue with the internet. The internet has most definitely become as stated,” a culture of humiliation.” I think she would be a great spokesperson for the cause. Many of the issues with cyber bullying and cyber humiliation are contained, but her scandal was, and still is, nationally recognized. We should definitely be cracking down on cyber humiliation and bullying, and I am pretty positive that laws have been put into place to create serious consequences for those who commit cyber bullying. But, I feel that there is always more that we can do.

  25. jheiden1

    I think Monica was a great spokesperson for this particular talk. Though her past acts should not go by unnoticed, I do believe that people take the internet too far. Internet users hide behind their screens, making it effortless to write horrid things. I’m willing to bet that at least 75% of those people would never repeat their nasty comments if given the chance to say them to that targeted individual. While I do agree kids should get a “tougher skin,” I also think that maybe they shouldn’t need to do that. There is no sense in being malicious to others online. The world would be a much better place if we could live without constantly saying bad things about one another.

  26. afairc1

    I do think the internet has created a “culture of humiliation”, the internet has made it is a lot easier to voice our thoughts (negative or positive) without putting a face to the comment. This has both good and bad qualities, and it definitely makes it a lot easier for people to write nasty things and cyber bully other people without think about the person on the receiving end. I do think Monica Lewinsky is the right spokesperson because while the internet was still new she was one of the first people to be cyber bullied. Due to the internet being still so new and constantly changing our generation is the internet/technology pioneers, no one before us grew up with this so we have to carve are own path and hope we don’t sink we don’t really have anyone to look to for advice on the topic except our own generation.

  27. Ariana Queenan

    I watched some Ms. Lewinsky’s talk prior to formulating this comment but unfortunately could not gather the amount of patience needed to watch the video to the end. Monica Lewinsky is absolutely the wrong person to be a spokesperson for this issue. Monica Lewinsky’s mistake has followed her for almost two decades yet I am not able to muster an once of sympathy for her. Ms. Lewinsky was an adult when she made the mistake. Some mistakes have consequences that alter the rest of your life. She knew this and now she must live with the consequences of her mistakes. I think it would be ludicrous for me to feel bad for what Monica Lewinsky has experienced due to her mistake. Every single person has made a mistake and every single person has to live with the consequences of those mistakes. For a lack of a more sophisticated idiom, “that’s how the cookie crumbles.”

    In my opinion, the Internet inherently breeds a “culture of humiliation” because people are able to post their feelings and thoughts without ever having to be confronted in person. I think the answer to cyberbullying and online harassment is awareness. I think as a society, we are doing a good job to help raise that awareness and discourage people from participating in cyberbullying and online harassment.

  28. keyanamichelle13

    The internet is both good and bad. It gives people a voice they never had before but it can also tear someone’s reputation apart instantly. In my opinion, Monica isn’t the right person for this topic. It’s not like she was/still is being bullied for no reason, she did a wrong action with someone she shouldn’t have and it’s something that’s going to stick with her forever. It’s like when a celebrity gets into trouble they have to do with their actions being posted all over the internet. She has to suffer the same fate. I believe there is someone else out there much better suited to be the spokesperson for this topic.

  29. Karisa Newkirk

    Well i think that everyone has dealt with something like cyber bullying, but honestly thicker skin should be made. everyone is free to say whatever they want to whom ever they’d like, therefore we as people shouldn’t be offended by what anyone says about us because there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. I don’t think that Monica is the right spokesperson for the issue because i personally believe that she is not entirely innocent and maybe her reputation may not help the message she’s trying to send come out right.

  30. Jennifer Im

    People are capable of great things, but just as equally are capable of horrid deeds. The anonymity the Internet provides separates accountability from the equation. And as we can observe, so many take advantage of that fact to slander, deceive, and abuse, which says a lot about the true nature of humanity.
    I do believe that people abuse the abilities the Internet provides and something should be done, but without legal action. People should understand the heavy power words can have and need to understand that if they wouldn’t say it in person, they shouldn’t be saying it online either.
    Monica was an interesting pick as spokesperson for the issue. Her fame, achieved largely by the online harassment she had to endure, is what would give this Ted spark and virality. On the other hand, her scandal and decisions were so controversial and major that people slandered her even off the web. She may have been a victim of online harassment, but she’s fully accountable for her actions. It would have made more sense to have a cyberbully victim who was picked on for no arguable reason, as many teenage victims are. They’re ostracized for their looks, race, clothes, or sometimes, no reason at all but at the whim of a bully.

  31. Taylla Smith

    I believe that the computer screen works as a shield for individuals and because of this people get this sense of power. Though free of speech is an essential element in our society. The use of this and the internet can definitely lead to humiliation and people being hurt and taken advantage of. Ms. Lewinsky went through a horrible ordeal but think about what would have been done to her over the internet if this were to occur now. The humiliation would definitely tripled.

  32. Williams Ekanem

    In my view, the Internet, like radio, newspaper and television can make or mar anybody, so it has not created a culture of humiliation. The Internet emphasizes and projects whichever side of the coin the individual places his/her self. It can also create a culture of commendation if you like.
    This brings to mind, Rita Marley’s song lyrics, “he who feels it, knows it.” From Monica’s bitter experience, she fits the role of a spokesperson for the Internet creating a culture of humiliation, but for Santana, the young man who videoed the Police killing in South Carolina, the Internet creates a culture of commendation.
    My exit line is from one of the PR commandments—-Do Good.

  33. Nicholas Taddeo

    Well I do not think the internet has “created” a culture of humiliation, but rather “strengthened” it. Bullying has always been around, but now it has entered into the cyber space and in a way made it inescapable. Kids used to be able to run home to escape the humiliation but now that’s no longer an option due to the internet/social media being so integrated with our society.

    I do think Monica Lewinsky is a good spokesperson because of her personal experience with the issue. In my opinion, any victim skilled enough to deliver a speech, should, because that makes the message more genuine and goes the extra proverbial mile.

  34. Grace Finlayson

    The internet has made it so anyone can have a voice on anything that is published. This has changed the way writers and publishers put their work out and this has been argued as a good progression, but also a bad one as well. Writers have to be much more cautious, in a way of what they put out there because negative commenters can really hurt their writing. I believe that there is a “culture of humiliation” going around in this era of social media and it has definitely change the way of what gets posted on the internet. I don’t think that there is anything we can do about the negative comments because some people will always be negative. The negative should never be humiliating though. I think that is what should change.

  35. Tamara Russo

    The Internet is a huge proponent of a “culture of humiliation”. The Monica Lewinsky scandal was at the time where the Internet just started its ascend to popularity. I do think she is the right spokesperson for this issue because just like she said, there was no name for it 17 years ago. She was a victim of cyberbullying and I’m glad she is speaking out and against this issue.

  36. Rachel Massaro

    I agree 100% that the internet has created this new world for humiliation. The anonymity of being behind a computer screen makes anyone brave and gives them the power to tear someone down with the use of words and file sharing. Whether it is a YouTube video, tweet, or facebook post, the possibilities of cyberbullying are endless these days and it has to stop. I think Monica Lewinsky is a perfect candidate for this issue because she’s experienced it first hand. She knows how easily a person’s life could be torn down by the internet and she realizes it has to end.

  37. Katherine Hammer

    The Internet has been and continues to be a world of humiliation. No matter what someone may be looking at on the Internet, there will be some point where someone they don’t know is humiliated, and people continue the harassment by commenting on the humiliation. People feed into this humiliation all the time, whether it’s on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Behind a computer screen it is much easier to press send than to say the harsh words directly in person. I believe that all of this humiliation and cyberbullying has gone too far. Cyberbullying created a way for one to hide their identity while attacking someone on the Internet. This has to stop. I think that as a society, we need to create a better way of stopping the negativity on the Internet, and use it as a positive resource for information.
    I think Monica Lewinsky is a perfect candidate to speak on this issue, because she is credible for all that she went through. She was one of the first big Internet scandals. With her experience, I think that she could convey to people how damaging cyberbullying is how it continues to be. She knows how to overcome the battles that she experienced first hand.

  38. memlano1

    Like many new technologies, the Internet has many negative consequences despite its great features. Using the Internet puts our privacy at risk in general, and having our story published on the web allows for criticism and bullying by people all over the world. Our increased vulnerability has made us more susceptible of negative feedback. While I don’t believe the Internet has created a “culture of humiliation,” it has definitely made the humiliation of others more accessible – anyone can create a false persona and type mean comments or harass individuals through an online chat. We should be continuing to bring awareness to the issue of cyber bullying by moderating comment sections, making it easy to “report” abusive users of the web, and sharing personal stories of cyber bullying. Monica Lewinsky is a good spokesperson for this issue because she remained out of the spotlight for many years and she can now report what she has learned from her experiences, hopefully bringing awareness to others. One mistake can cost you your whole life in the Digital Age and although Lewinsky probably knew her actions were wrong, I’m sure she didn’t realize the extent of her actions and how it would result in everyone knowing her name for what she did.

  39. Marissa Slattery

    Monica Lewinsky is a well suited spokesperson for this platform. There is no question that she will be polarizing – some people will fully agree with her ability to speak on this issue and others will continue to hold questionable moral decisions made by her almost 20 years ago at the age of 22 against her and will continue to throw stones. I have to question as she did, whether or not those who believe that she is an inappropriate candidate to speak on the dangers of shaming via the internet have ever done anything in their lives that they didn’t later regret? Is there nothing in their past that they wouldn’t want sprawled on the front pages of newspapers, covered in nightly newscasts or littering the internet? The internet makes it all too easy to allow people to judge and ridicule others. Public figures and friends alike are fair game to be called out and the internet gives the world a megaphone to anyone with an internet connection. We live in a culture that finds joy in tearing people down…if that is ever to change, we need to gain a better grip on compassion and humility both individually and in the corporate world. Unfortunately for many, compassion and humility are only gained once they have experienced shame and humiliation firsthand. Bullying has been around forever, what makes it dangerous now are the tools that the internet provide which allow one to broadcast another individual’s pain for public enjoyment. The internet and social media are powerful tools and like all powerful tools, in the wrong hands, can be extremely dangerous.

  40. Gabrielle Furman

    The internet has created a place where people can express themselves freely without consequences. There should be some consequences because some people actually listen to what people are posting and could cause harmful things to happen. I think that Monica Lewinsky is a good spokesperson for this because she experienced harmful things that were said about her over the internet. She can tell others not to always believe what is said about them.

  41. gluisi

    I do believe partly that the internet has created a “culture of humiliation”. Any individual these days can post anything on the internet, anywhere they want. This has made it so much easier for people to make fun, and humiliate others’ pictures, comments and being. I think that the people who use the internet need to know how to use it responsibly. It is almost impossible to ban someone from the internet, because they can access it in almost every place they are. I do not think that Monica Lewinsky is the best spokesperson for this. I don’t know how many people will be behind a women who put herself in this position and who had had an affair with the president who was married. I know I don’t take her seriously.

  42. Ashley Fazio

    It is true, the internet has changed over the past 17 years. Although, it is interesting to hear from Ms. Lewinsky and see her point of view. Cyber bullying is something that can cause a lot of damage. Ms. Lewinsky is right in the points that she made. If cyber bullying is taken too far things can go from bad to worse. The internet was not created for this purpose. We should be trying to bring the internet back to good and stay away from the prejudging before knowing that we all are guilty of.

  43. Taylor Lawrence

    I feel that Lewinsky has made some great points in her effort. But with that being said, she is absolutely the wrong person for the job. Her lack of morals got her where she is and it is hard for the public to sympathize and listen to someone of that nature. I think it would be more effective to hear childrens’ sides of the story rather than a woman who is not well respected.

  44. emilyrwalsh

    17 years ago, when the scandal of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton broke out, the internet was fairly new. Even in its younger years, the internet was used for humiliation and embarrassment. This culture of humiliation that has been created is only hurting people. Why use the internet in negative way when it can be used for so much good? People feel that they can hide behind the computer screen and tear others down in order to build themselves up. The truth is that in cyber bullying, everyone is being torn down. We must change it and use the internet for good.

    I really enjoyed Monica Lewinsky’s talk. After years of silence, she explained what she went through when the scandal happened. We got to see and understand her side of the story. I feel that she is the right spokesperson for this issue because she first hand experienced it. She knows first and foremost what it is like to be a victim of the internet and how to overcome it.

    Especially as PR practitioners, it is part of our job to use the internet and social media in a positive way. The way we use the internet should build people up and make them feel good about themselves. I feel that it is time for people to stop cyber bullying and time for people to use the internet in a positive way.

  45. Jen OM

    The internet has absolutely created a “culture of humiliation.” I experienced it first hand for many years. I remember my parents being shocked and confused at the abuse I took as a young middle school and high school aged girl. In the year 1999 when this first happened to me, it was the beginning for cyber bullying. The power that one group of school mates had over me via the internet was immense. I had to change schools and take a bus to a different town out of fear and embarrassment at 13 years old and eventually the same abuse followed me there.

    Adults such as the parents of students that bullied me even sometimes joined in on the internet cruelty leaving me to feel very unsafe and alone. Internet abused caused years of mental instability for me. I feel that the internet has made it very easy for people to show their true colors and to gang up on somebody. It’s like a safe haven for cruelty.

    The internet is frighteningly powerful when used as a weapon as it allows the damage to spread further than ever before. Cyber bullying ruined my life for many years and it breaks my heart when I hear stories about kids, and even adults at this point, suffering because of it. I have compassion for Monica Lewinsky because of this and I do find her to be an appropriate spokesperson. Personally when this happened to me, I was a child and was simply a victim of “mean girls.” But I believe that as a human being, you should be allowed to make a mistake without being publicly shamed and ferociously humiliated for it. Monica Lewinsky’s humiliation and the cruelty she experienced wouldn’t have been so far reaching or damaging without the internet.

  46. Nicholas Mazzarella

    Professor Morosoff:

    In my opinion, the Internet has certainly created a “culture of humiliation.” Some of the media to which Monica Lewinsky referred – like gossip websites and reality programming – dehumanize their subjects and make them out to be objects rather than people. Those who shame others online are driven by revenue (more clicks equal more money) and fail to recognize that humans are being harmed in the process.

    Like Lewinsky said, compassion and empathy will triumph over shame. People must realize that online content is “amplified, uncontained, and permanently accessible,” so why not use those characteristics to our advantage by, for example, spreading awareness for a good cause rather than ruining somebody’s reputation? I believe that a TED Talk like Lewinsky’s is a step in the right direction in terms of making people aware of the consequences that this type of Internet behavior can have.

    Lastly, I think that Lewinsky is the perfect spokesperson for this issue. She was around during the time in which people received their content from only traditional media, and she can also speak to the power of the Internet when it comes to sharing news. The messages in the presentation were undoubtedly more strongly communicated because they were coming from a woman who had a firsthand experience of online shame and humiliation.

    -Nick Mazzarella

  47. Kimberly Minto

    I have to admit that after reading this post, I knew that Monica Lewinsky was right something needs to be done about cyber bullying, but I didn’t believe she was the right person to be the face of that movement. However after viewing her Ted Talk, I believe she is the perfect person for something like this. In January 1998, I was four, but even I have heard the story countless times, everyone who she talks to will know that she is speaking from experience and there is power in that simple fact.

    I especially like her point about the responsibility of expression. We all have a right to express ourselves and our opinions, but at the same time we need to remember that there will be people reading our comments/posts/tweets that will be hurt by them. Personally I’m not saying we shouldn’t express ourselves we just need to be careful in the way that we do it. The Internet has emboldened people in my opinion because it gives them the opportunity to act in a way that they never would in public. Celebrities and Hollywood itself has repeatedly produced movies big and small about cyber bullying so we already knew it was a problem. I think this is final push that society needs.

  48. Cass Lang

    I believe cyber bullying is something that cannot be prevented. People are mean in real life and having a screen to hide behind only makes it easier for a person to be mean by distancing themselves, both physically and emotionally, from their human target. Monica Lewinsky is a perfect spokesperson for this issue because she has been so permanently effected by this type of harassment. People are more likely to listen to an easily identifiable person who has a personal connection to an issue. In addition, I believe it is necessary to educate youth in the ways of using the Internet in respectfully and responsibly. A required elementary class focusing on this would help to shape the future of the internet.

    The media also has the power to shape society’s behavior. Once the media learns that bullying its subjects is unethical, I believe it will be easier for the entire internet population to follow suit.

  49. rebeccaanncosta

    In the past 17 years since Monica Lewinsky’s scandal a lot has changed in the media and it’s sad that the media has become an outlet for scandal and cyber-bullying as you put it. It was interesting to hear Lewinsky’s point of view on Ted, and how the internet has affected her. One of the points she makes is that people were judging her without knowing her and name calling. This is similar to how we use social media to prejudge people today. It’s interesting to see that even before social media was popular, the same ideas were used in another form.

  50. Abby Drapeau

    I think Monica Lewinsky is a great spokesperson for this because she knows first hand how it feels to be cyber-bullied. I understand that she made a mistake, but I don’t think anyone is perfect, and I don’t think anyone deserves to be punished for the rest of their lives. After watching her Ted Talk you realize that she’s a person, just like the rest of us, with feelings and a family. I think that the internet has created a culture of humiliation, and people forget the fact that there is a person with feelings on the other side of the screen. I’m not quite sure what we can do to fix it, but we definitely need to remember that our words have power, and to always think before we speak, or type.

  51. Elana

    The Internet comes along with pros and cons, but unfortunately, it has created a “culture of humiliation.” There are all types of online harassment, also know as cyber bulling. Sadly, it is a reality: kids feel left out from the in-crowd on social networking sites and people no longer have boundaries when they publicly post something just because they feel sheltered behind a computer screen. That is part of this huge problem; people post, comment, and tweet about hurtful things that they would never say to someone else’s face. I feel as if people really need to consider what they are putting on the Internet. With that in mind, the Internet could slowly become a safer environment for all of its diverse users.

  52. geow1

    It is worth noting her efforts to shine a light onto the cause. However my opinions towards her are rather unfavourable and I do not believe that this website is not suitable to host my thoughts. I also do not agree that she should be a spokesperson.
    However her efforts of utilising her public status towards the cause while being on TED is a great measure in ensuring an overall positive coverage on the issue.

  53. Nicole Romeo

    I strongly agree with the fact that the internet has created a world for people to be able to humiliate and harass others from behind a screen. Gossip that is created through the use of the internet starts rumors and unnecessary arguments and or fights. I’ve learned that you really have to be smart with what you post on the internet today due to the fact that the simplest thing can be considered bullying. Monica is definitely the right person to talk about an issue such as this one due to the fact she has been in a very sticky situation that can be hard to recover from.

  54. pjze618

    I wholeheartedly agree with Monica Lewinsky’s statements. The Internet completely creates a space for people to, mostly anonymously, critique others. And with gossip websites, they feed on celebrity mishaps. I think Ms. Lewinsky is a good spokesperson for the issue since she has dealt with this very problem for 17 years and she was one of the first people to have to deal with online harassment.

  55. Sarah Holzberg

    I do feel that the Internet has created a world for people to humiliate and embarrass people due to the fact that anyone is strong behind a computer screen. Although I feel for Monica I do not feel that she is right for this position. No matter what she did do something wrong that would ruin her life and she knew that, if it wasn’t true then yes she is a great spokesperson but I think it’s a conflict of interest for her.


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