August 12, 2022

Bullying and Boycotts: A Class Discussion

The Twitter feed was fire, with non-stop updates coming through. Why? Because we were discussing bullying and boycotting brands.

It all started with Justine Sacco.  After sending out this Tweet,

the internet went crazy, and the pitchforks came out. It was up to us to discuss if Sacco was bullied and if she deserved the repercussions she received – and people were pretty torn. We started with a definition, then we took to debate. 

On one side, we had this: 

On the other side, we had this:

And in the middle, we had Jesse Walker (@ijwalkoutside):

We couldn’t settle on an answer, and ultimately began discussing the extreme of cyberbullying – the kind that results in death.

With so many platforms for digital social interaction, cyberbullying is not confined to just one. For example, video games that use microphone systems are a place for children and adults to talk negatively towards each other just as some might do via Facebook or any other social site. Cyberbullying over this medium is seen in the case example of Tyler Barriss who is guilty of “swatting”, a term used to describe calling in a fake SWAT team incident. In the case of Barriss, the man that he “fake” called about ended up being shot and killed, proving that bullying does not stop online and that online and the real world are not as separate as we might think.


Our classmate Stacia then raised a great question “What other brands do people boycott due to a misalignment of values?”. This then brought in a lot of engagement from others in the class.
























Everyone had had their reasoning of why they boycott certain brands, whether it be personal beliefs, service, or morals. So, does this now walk the along the fine line of making us the “bullies’’ for ragging on the brands we hate for misalignment? Of course, our complaints don’t measure up to the earlier conversation of Justine Sacco but one can see that the lines are blurred when it comes to today’s class topic.

This whole discussion centered around internet behavior and cyber anonymity is relatively new considering the length of time we have had this technology. The lines on what is and isn’t okay to do online might be blurry, but what is socially acceptable all comes down to basic human decency. Although you have the opportunity to be anonymous, in theory, you shouldn’t really say something to someone online that you wouldn’t say to someone in real life to their face. People do and say things in reality that are upsetting to others and should be more thoughtful in general to use discretion with what they say and how someone might react. The rules of the internet should reflect real life values, and while that differs from person to person, cyberbullying is real bullying and should not be thought of as any less significant.


Tess Meyer, Maddie Landers, Sarah Ballard, Marisa Biggins