Ypulse On The Today Show: KFC's Bathing Beauties
- December 12th, 2008
- 1 Comments
Yesterday as I was driving home from a meeting at Facebook, I got a call from a producer for the Today Show asking if I might be up for an interview about the girls who decided to take a bath in the industrial sink at KFC. Of course I said yes, and scrambled to clean my apartment, banish my husband and dog, slather on lots of makeup and read about the incident. Of course the interview lasted about 15-20 minutes yielding a few seconds for the piece. So you missed me saying, “Taking a bath in a sink at KFC, definitely not ok.”
I thought I would fill you in on what I said that got left on the cutting room floor. This has been a week of sensational coverage around all the negative stuff youth are doing online—see the Today Show’s earlier report on the new “sexting” survey out from Hearst and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The percentage in that survey (20 percent) feels high to me, and one of my Twitter friends who is a research guy, questioned where the online sample was taken from, i.e. if it was mostly from MySpace, it might have skewed the results. High or not, I thought Allison Mooney over at Mobile Behavior had the perfect measured response. Here were my other talking points on the KFC scandal:
While inspired by the Burger King bather, I didn’t think these girls were going for viral gold. Sharing images on MySpace is different than posting videos on YouTube. These bathing ladies were posting for their friends and had no clue they would be “discovered” and that this would lead to them getting fired. It was more of a let’s see if we can get away with it prank, followed by documentation. Teens have always documented in some way - I was just watching “Sixteen Candles” for the hundreth time the other night—what did Farmer Ted do to prove he had driven Caroline home in a Rolls? Had his friends take a picture. What’s different now of course, is that posting makes it public, which is the lesson teens learn when they get busted.
One other comment on what I think links the sexting stuff and the KFC story together - the teens on the Today Show sexting story talked about the distance technology adds into the equation, allowing them to do more brazen things than what they would do in real life. I talk about this a lot when I speak on cyberbullying - the girls aren’t thinking about photos being passed around or imagining themselves in a room full of teen boys looking at them as they took the photos. Just as the KFC trio didn’t think about a co-worker watching them bathe. Technology does make it easier to flirt, bully, share and do other stuff you wouldn’t do face-to-face.
Teens have always done stupid things during their first jobs when the manager wasn’t looking. If anything, these types of scandals might be good for all of our public health. Now fast food chains and other teen employers can focus even more on worker education and talking about what’s appropriate to do at work, and what isn’t - i.e. taking a bath, “not ok.”
Finally, they used my quote at the end - it’s not just young people posting stupid stuff online. We all know colleagues or friends posting borderline photos or status messages on social networking sites. Yes, younger people have less impulse control, but it’s not just “kids today.” We are all struggling with what it means to share and sometimes overshare online.
And now, here’s the clip: