What to do if you become an internet meme

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Remember when that “Friday” music video by Rebecca Black hit YouTube? It somehow seemed to plague the Suggestions list for any video you decided to watch. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of popular music, so it really used to annoy me. Certainly it annoyed lots of other people as well, and the parodies came in their hundreds. Somewhere in that video was an awkward girl with braces, dressed in pink, who seemed to catch everyone’s attention. Yep, ‘That girl in pink’ was the meme of the day.

Benni Cinkle’s amateurish dance moves were immortalized in animated GIF form. Things got nasty and videos like this started to appear. While plenty of derision and a little bit of pity were poured onto the teenager in YouTube comments section and many an Internet forum, she wasn’t going to let it get to her. Instead, she responded and in one simple video captured hundred’s of thousands of hearts. But she didn’t stop there.

Benni Cinkle has created her own website called That Girl In Pink. Using her new-found fame, she has stepped up and is looking at making the world a better place. Following the tsunami which hit Japan earlier this year, she organized a flash mob to dance with her in an effort to raise money for Japanese relief via the American Red Cross.

She also managed to get herself onto an American television show called The Debrief, where she explains how she responded to the initial cyber-bullying that she experienced after the ‘Friday’ video was launched. In the show, she mentions her eBook, The Internet Survival Guide, which gives tips on how teenagers should deal with cyber-bullying.

Last month, Cinkle went on to organise a team which took part in a charity fundraiser walk for Cystic Fibrosis, walking under her own banner. During the walk, she made an effort to create a video that would raise awareness of the disease. Her team have raised more than US$2500 for the cause. Recently, she donated her own artwork to the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity for its spring fundraiser, The Red Dot Auction.

She has appeared in countless newspaper articles outwardly fighting against bullying and promoting self-belief. She also makes a point of raising awareness for vegetarianism and animal rights. Now she’s working on her own music project and is hoping to release a single fairly soon.

Benni is also pretty open about how things work for her. She does make use of her own PR Team, but she works at promoting herself and her charitable causes tirelessly, while still going to school and attempting to live a pretty ordinary life. On one of the forums I frequent, a poster said: I was won over when someone asked her “Why are you so awkward??” and she responded:”Um, because I’m 13…”.

This is what you do when you become an internet Meme.

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