Social Media: A Megaphone for Stupidity

Ah, social media. We all use it in one way or another, and often on more than one platform. Instagram to get your creativity fix, Facebook to get your gossip fix, Twitter to get your current affairs fix… Together, they fill the shoes left by the era of television and actually going outside to talk to people. While bad news used to spread rather slowly on the latter, on social media, it takes a mere second for your friends, and the friends of your friends, and even people neither you nor your friends know to know exactly when and how you stuffed up.

Enter Kelli-Jane Zampelli, a young hairdresser from the Western Cape who has her own business called Zampelli Hair Studio. In a moment of weakness she claims was brought on by an unfortunate series of events in her personal life, she decides to post the following on Facebook:

As you can see from the little earth symbol below her name, this was posted publicly on her profile. She however had little knowledge of just how public it would become… Shortly after the post was made, a individual shared it (bless his heart). Then another. And another. And one sentient being eventually shared it in the local Cape Town Riders Facebook group, with thousands of local members who are, you guessed it: Bikers.

Needless to say, both Kelli-Jane’s personal- and Zampelli Hair Studio business profiles saw a rapid increase in visits, comments and reviews from distraught bikers ready to take action against an evil they face on a daily basis, which has now been given not only a name, but also an address, email address and phone numbers all thanks to various public social media profiles.

As things started to heat up, the various instances of conversation slowly started turning, all the while exhibiting a less-than-tolerant behavior towards bikers and attempting to use having to sit in traffic while bikes get to pass freely as a source of enough frustration to warrant such behaviour, obviously not taking a moment to remember that those very bikers most likely opt to take the bike instead of the car (and the inherent risk that comes with it) when leaving home in the mornings for that very reason.

Realizing the sh*t storm she had just created, she quickly changed her profile to private and removed the offending post, but at that point it had already been copied and shared to the extent where it had hopped over to twitter under the #kellijanezampelli hashtag, among others. In a last dire attempt to take her name off the many lists she had just subscribed it to, she posted the following to the very group she had offended:

Sadly, social media doesn’t always work like that. Bikers outraged by the initial offence were not likely to be so easily satisfied by a mere written apology which was an obvious reaction to the pandemonium she had so clearly caused, and most likely a growing fear that every group of angry bikers would now be targeting her car and perhaps even her business in response to her careless post portraying an obvious disregard for the lives and safety of bikers who split lanes in traffic; an action that is legally allowed as per the South African National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996.

If you would like to share some words of inspiration, feel free to contact Kelli-Jane, Zampelli Hair Studio or if you’re in the neighbourhood, why not pop in at the studio in person. I believe that they recently started giving free haircuts to all bikers, especially those bearing a printed version of the below voucher containing original offending Facebook post 🙂

Update: I have decided to tone down the investigative journalism a tad and removed direct contact information from this article. I have however left the embedded hyperlinks to the various social media profiles being mentioned. I trust that people who would like to make contact, will not require my assistance to do so.

Update 2: Since this article was posted, Kelli has made a second attempt at making amends by an official and authentic 50% discount offer at Zampelli Hair Studio specially for bikers as per the below.

Disclaimer: All information, media, links, addresses and contact information shared in this post were taken from public social media and did not require any special privileges to obtain at the time this article was written. The views expressed are an emotional reporting of the events as they happened. And to those who say “She said she’s sorry, just drop it now”… Oscar said he’s sorry too. Note how he’s still in prison.