If you thought that the events before the 2012 video were pretty strange and that the video story was odd, wait until the events after the supposed suicide.
It’s difficult to know where to start. By now, the words ‘Amanda Todd’ have been applied to every post by every charlatan online. Every opportunist – from reputable authors in the Guardian to suppliers of malware – puts ‘Amanda Todd’ in a heading or tags on an article. Just about every last drop has been squeezed from the Amanda Todd bandwagon. This makes it difficult to find the relevant information, and even more difficult to find any valid contribution to the story.
In the mad rush to get on the bandwagon, people printed absolute rubbish – scandalously under-researched and misinformed. It would seem that, at the time, if someone had announced she was abducted by aliens it would have been believed. More annoyingly, Anonymous (those online juvenile cretins) got involved – originally announcing that is was all – the entire thing – faked, before proceeding to turn it into a revenge vigilante hunt for an innocent person. Unfortunately, most of the rubbish published in the first few days became seen as the truth.
Her original video was copied by two groups – where it rapidly became a source of income, and was spammed everywhere. Video clips and pictures turned up by the dozen – including, of course, the video of her flashing and the other pictures of her naked online. Hundreds of R.I.P. pages turned up – mostly made by 12 year old girls, and now used for scams or just for likes.
And then came the hate. Except hate is not the right word. A certain amount of anger and indignation and a lot of valid criticism appeared. With some hate. Her nude pics were published. Many times. People were questioning the story. How come this delinquent teen was suddenly the inspirational role model? The ‘Todding’ references appeared; the ‘she deserved it’ comments; the debate over whether she was in Heaven or Hell; words like ‘whore’, ‘skank’ and ‘slut’ became more common.
At this point, it might be good to look at the Amanda Todd tribes. Firstly, there were the genuine sympathisers, who arrived in their thousands. Basically, they came and left. These were followed by the bandwagon-joiners, who had seen the interest and joined in so as not to feel left out. Then came those who were, for various reasons, anti-Amanda – and most of them became bored and moved on. But a mass of fans were left, and they can be divided into groups:
1. The 12 year old girls. Amanda was a perfect icon for this age group. This was, and still is, the biggest group of fans.
2. The 12 year old boys. Amanda was their first crush.
3. Bored housewives, Group One – those who, for want of a better word, were pretty skanky in their younger years, and hadn’t come to terms with their appalling behaviour (Amanda reminded them of themselves when they were younger). They felt that, if they could defend Amanda by saying that everyone did what she did, it would somehow make it better for them.
4. Bored housewives, Group Two – the ones with daughters, who were genuinely concerned about the story.
5. Strange, pervy men – thinking that obsessing over pictures of a dead teen wasn’t really indicative of suppressed pedophile tendencies.
6. A mix of people who thought the story was wrong. In some ways, some of the wisest contributors to the debate.
7. Mad people – and I mean that in a sensible way, not just as a cheap-shot jibe. Some of the Amanda Todd supporters are mentally unstable, to put it mildly. They are collectively known as the ‘Amanda Todd Reporting Team’. Or ‘Amanda Todds Safe Haven’. (Note: this is sort of a private joke. Anyone who has been following the story online will know who the ‘Reporting Team’ and the ‘Safe Haven’ are. The same people who know who ‘Philip Rose’ is).
I think I’ve covered all the tribes. If you can think of any more, please let me know.
I’ve still got my original problem – where do I go with this story now? It’s like doing a jigsaw. Do I start at the edges, and work in? Sky first, or the scenery? Or just random? Bear with me. At the moment, I think I’m at the jigsaw stage where all the pieces are turned the right way up, most of the edging is complete, and there are some recognisable features. In time, the jigsaw will be complete.
Thanks for staying with the story.