When I’m on social media, there’s always a nagging voice in the back of my head. “Why don’t you have more followers?”, “Why hasn’t anyone retweeted you?”, and other similar measures of social media and internet notoriety.
Then I remember how many people have earned “internet fame” based on numbers alone and I remind myself I have no interest in achieving what they have in such a short period of time.
For example, Keaton. A young boy who was upset at being bullied at school and used the internet as a platform to voice his feelings about how he was being treated.
His video quickly went viral. Several celebrities, athletes, and others took to the internet to tell Keaton to stay strong and they stand beside him in his fight against bullying.
Then the internet, as it often does, took Keaton, his story, video, and even his family to task.
Keaton’s story is most likely true. There isn’t any evidence I’m aware of but, it’s fair to say getting bullied in school is a very common thing and Keaton more than likely has been targeted by bullies.
The video does make you feel bad for Keaton.
Keaton is clearly in pain. You want to reach out to him and let him know he isn’t alone or he does have someone he can turn to for help.
Keaton’s Mom, Kimberly Jones, was discovered to have posted words of “tough love” and photos of her family posing with a Confederate Flag, online before the video was uploaded.
Mixed martial artist, Joe Schilling reached out on Instagram to Keaton and his family and was told to visit their Go Fund Me page. Mr. Schilling’s response in which he says, “She just wants money.”, was also uploaded to the internet.
Shawn White, Keaton’s Father, had an online photo far more disturbing than Ms. Jones. The photo shows Mr. White and another man both holding one hand, fingers positioned, as to show a sign of White Pride. Mr. White also has a tattoo reading, Pure Breed, the other man in the photo has a swastika tattooed on the front of his left shoulder.
The backlash was quick. The number of people who questioned Keaton and his family’s motives grew as quickly as the number of supporters. The two sides quickly met each other in virtual linguistic combat, both sides wanting answers to questions.
Ms. Jones contests the family photos with the Confederate Flag were meant to be ironic and she was often herself bullied for, “Not being racist.”, growing up in the South.
The Instagram account was discovered to be created by a person outside of the Jones Family, as well as the Go Fund Me account Mr. Schilling was referred to.
Joesph Lam, a Go Fund Me user originally created the account and has said the money raised is being used to fight against bullying.
The Jones Family claim they no longer have connections to Keaton’s Father, Shawn White.
The events have been described as, Milkshake Duckesque.
I’ve often lobbied for a 24-hour period of silence before talking about any newsworthy story online but, I highly doubt I’m going to be taken seriously for a long time, probably for the best, if I’m being honest.
Whatever the outcome of Keaton and his story, there will most likely be another “Milkshake Duck” around the corner, waiting for the internet.