From Grumpy Cat to Kai, the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker, videos and user-generated memes have transformed ordinary individuals into stars. With each click comes a comment -- or worse, an Internet troll. Caitlin Seida learned that the hard way when a fun photo of her Halloween costume became an online sensation. She shared her story on HuffPost Live.
Two years ago, Seida's husband took a photo of Caitlin dressed as Tomb Raider Lara Croft for Halloween. She put the photo on Facebook to share with family and friends, but when Facebook updated its privacy settings this January, the photo became viewable to the public.
"At first I thought it was funny, because I'm a larger woman, obviously, and the caption said 'Fridge Raider', and 'ahaha Lara Croft let herself go,' whatever," she explained to host Caitlyn Becker. "It was worth a chuckle. I thought it was kind of witty."
"And then I started reading the comments," she continued. "Some of them were just your run-of-the-mill mean stuff, like 'oh, fatty, fatty, fatty,' blah blah blah, and then they just got worse and worse and worse, until it culminated into this whole 'oh you should kill yourself to spare everybody's eyes.'"
Seida said that she felt so depressed by the comments that for a while, she stopped taking pictures of herself. But after writing about her experience for Salon.com, she received an outpouring of support that ultimately changed her mind.
"Now I'm just like, 'yeah, put it all out there!"