- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 14 September 2016
- Written by AMANDA DRENNAN | PHOTOGRAPHY & LEISURE EDITOR
A Look at the Effects of Social Media on the Cincinnati Zoo
The name “Harambe” has been plastered on social media a lot lately. A few months ago a young boy fell into the gorilla cage at the Cincinnati Zoo. Unfortunately, the zoo was given the ultimatum of either saving the boy’s life or shooting the gorilla. The zoo officials decided that the life of the little boy would be saved, and the gorilla, Harambe, died.
The child fell into the enclosure, and the gorilla was dragging him around. The zoo officials feared that if they tranquilized the gorilla he would have become more enraged and hurt the child before he would be saved. Something needed to be done quickly about the situation and the zoo staff thought that this was the best way to handle it. There were several staff members from the zoo that spoke about the situation, all agreeing that the right thing had been done in this situation.
After the story was broadcast all over the news and internet, people began to take sides and getting extremely upset over the situation. The story blew up with people attacking the Cincinnati Zoo saying they handled the situation wrong. Even after several apologies and explanations for the situation, people were still furious that the gorilla was killed. Of course, people also went after the parents. They were criticized for not keeping a closer eye on their child. This is a valid criticism, but parents are allowed to make mistakes too; we aren’t all perfect.
Usually, as time passes, the hype around stories like this will die down. But, lately the zoo has still found itself in the limelight. People have taken the situation and turned Harambe into a meme. Almost every social media platform you look at on the internet is bound to have people posting pictures of the gorilla with funny sayings under them. People are basically mocking those who were very offended when the zoo killed the gorilla. While the memes were definitely comical, they tended to be casting a negative light on the zoo.
There were actually so many jokes and attacks being made at the zoo that they disabled all of their social media for an extended period of time. They had been getting countless Twitter replies and Facebook comments saying things like “#JusticeForHarambe.” It wasn’t just a few people either, there were hundreds of people leaving these kinds of comments.
The story went from being a news report to being an internet meme of Harambe-a joke. It’s something silly that’s caught on as a trend, but it’s not helpful to the zoo. They’re now unable to use social media to notify or promote anything to their guests. The actual event was a lot for the zoo to take on and now the ongoing joke is taking things a step further.It is a very tricky situation to handle, of course, but it was handled and the general public needs to move on and stop criticizing the actions of the zoo.
The meme of Harambe was taken a bit too far because it turned into a form of harassment for the zoo.
The meme doesn’t do anything but make fun of the situation.
It doesn’t even promote safety at zoos, it’s just a situation people are taking advantage of on social media to make a joke. I don’t think the meme is a bad thing because it isn’t harming anyone. But, unfortunately for the zoo, it is something that they’ll have to deal with until the sensation is over.
Like most things on the internet, eventually this will all be in the past. But, for now, #JusticeForHarambe.
IMAGE TAKEN from mirror.co.uk/