When a famous figure, who has a large following on the internet, becomes involved in a controversy, an immense amount of people and supporters intensely follow the scandal. The urge from these followers to keep up-to-date on the status of the public issue has become a prominent internet phenomenon. Now, people wait for these influential figures to release “apology videos” or statements explaining their side of the story.
A recent sexual assault accusation against a prominent influencer on TikTok took center stage on multiple social media platforms. Months later, the victim posted a video to Youtube on January 20, now reaching 19 million views, explaining his side of the story and telling his viewers the exact details. Public explanations and apologies receive a lot of attention, making it clear that internet drama intrigues many people.
This phenomenon has caused many students to wonder why they find themselves closely following internet drama.
“Any time I see an intriguing title, I click on it. I think it’s addicting in a way to watch these videos, because it’s something that doesn’t directly affect me, so it’s interesting and sometimes sad to see what decisions other people make,” said senior Sara Fagan.
Others say that the back and forth arguments of famous people online make these issues almost impossible to avoid.
“You see it all over every social media platform. The titles of these scandals are repeated and posted everywhere, so I always find myself following the drama because I want to know what the hype is about,” said senior Anna Pirkl.
Other students say that the addictive nature of public issues is up for interpretation.
“It’s also a he said she said situation. You never really know who’s in the right, and I think that’s the draw of keeping up on the drama,” said senior Abby Radwanski. “You want to make your own opinion on the issue and figure out for yourself what side you are on.”
Other students do not find themselves wrapped up in these internet issues.
“I honestly do not really care about internet drama. A lot of my friends talk about scandals when they come up and half the time, I don’t know what they’re talking about,” said junior Ashley Kenneally.
Agreeing with Kenneally, many others do not see the importance of focusing on internet scandals.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to follow the personal problems of other people. It kind of takes up a lot of energy in my opinion,” said senior Cory Hutchison.
Although many agree that internet drama has an addicting nature, others say that they feel empathy for those involved.
“For the victims that are stuck in these public issues, you feel bad that they have to publicly announce everything going on in their lives,” said Pirkl. “A lot of these issues are heavy, and it’s unfortunate that people are sometimes forced to release a statement.”
Similarly, many say that a lot of internet scandals are topics that should remain private.
“I can’t imagine having to tell millions of people if I made a mistake or if I was a victim of an issue. It’s a lot of negative attention either way and not something you want online forever,” said Radwanski.
Many have ideas of how they would handle these situations if they were a prominent internet figure.
“It’s easier said than done since influencers are expected to release every detail about their lives, but I would try to keep my personal issues as private and lowkey as possible,” said Fagan. “Posting statements and videos definitely adds a lot of fuel to the fire, and it’s a permanent trace of your identity online.”