Rebecca Black of Davis gives etiquette pointers to participants at a recent workshop. She has been the target of a barrage of Internet attacks against a 13-year-old singer who shares her name. Courtesy photo

Rebecca Black of Davis gives etiquette pointers to participants at a recent workshop. She has been the target of a barrage of Internet attacks against a 13-year-old singer who shares her name. Courtesy photo


She’s not THAT Rebecca Black, and she tweets with civility

By March 28, 2011

Did you know that Rebecca Black lives in Davis?

No, not the 13-year-old singer of the viral hit, “Friday.”

Rebecca Black of Davis is a 56-year-old etiquette expert: an irony, considering the recent barrage of Internet attacks against the singer, and by accident, the etiquette expert as well.

“Friday,” performed by 13-year-old Rebecca Black of Anaheim Hills, went viral on March 11, fueled by social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. As of this morning, the song had nearly 61 million views on YouTube.

However, the song was catapulted to fame largely based on criticism, some of which has been misdirected toward the Davisite.

Black (the ettiquette expert), was startled on Monday, March 14, when she began seeing comments on her YouTube videos referring to “Friday.” The comments range from confusion (“oops wrong video”) to etiquette parodies of the song (“Tipping tipping, YEAH/Tipping tipping, YEAH YEAH!/funfunfunfunfunfunfunfunfunfun­f”).

But then the vitriolic comments started to pour in.

Black, who owns the account @RebeccaBlack on Twitter, started to see “really ugly comments,” directed at the singer, tweeted to her by accident.

“There are just a group of people on the Internet, called trolls, who just get a kick out of trying to hurt people,” Black said. “They love doing that.”

“There were some awful things, like ‘I’m going to cut your head off,’ ” Black said. “Some comments were very sexually explicit. And then someone said, ‘I hope you realize that these are directed toward a 13-year-old girl, not you.’ I wasn’t sure whether to think that was nice or an insult.”

“@rebeccablack I hope this is ur twitter name so that u get this tweet. Ur voice is f***** annoying! Just end ur career #imjustsaying,” one person tweeted.

Others attacked the etiquette expert personally.

“There’s another Rebecca Black, but she’s an ugly old lady. Old Lady: @Rebeccablack It’s Friday: @_RebeccaBlack_,” another person tweeted.

Black, who manages three websites and a monthly newsletter on etiquette, tries to discourage hateful comments by ignoring them.

“I generally try not to respond to the negative ones,” Black said. “I banned the ugliest of them so they couldn’t go on my page again.”

She did send out a few replies, though, applying her etiquette skills, aimed to get people thinking about their remarks.

“I’m also a leader in the civility movement. Ironic?” Black tweeted back to the person who had insulted her.

She also urged everyone to consider more important matters at hand.

“The tragedy in Japan and all in need is much more important than my name and the singer who shares it. Compassion?” she tweeted.

Black wants everyone to keep etiquette in mind when surfing the web.

“These people should know we’re human,” Black said. “We’re not just some tweet on the Internet. Consider that we’re real people. It’s not a contest to see how mean you can be.”

She also warns that though the Internet may feel like a safer medium to insult with, uncivilized behavior on the ‘net may have serious consequences.

“The Internet is just another shared space,” Black said. “People do judge you based on how you treat people. Five years from now, you don’t want to be turned down for a job because of something you wrote as a teenager.”

However, “the pendulum can only swing one way for so long,” Black said.

“Recently, I’ve been getting tons of support. They’ve been getting really nice lately,” Black said.

Black is a firm believer in the power of nice.

“Nice matters. It’s much better than anything else. It makes your life better,” Black said.

And her impression of Rebecca Black’s “Friday”?

“I thought it was adorable,” she said.

— Reach Chloe Kim at [email protected]

Chloe Kim

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