SorrySpace Provides a Platform for Bullies to Own Up

By Erin Barnaby, MFA candidate ’14

Four MFA in Emergent Media students – Jessica Martin, Becky Colley, Jeffrey Turner, and Erin Barnaby – along with fifth member Emily McManamy, participated in the 24-hour Storyhack Vermont competition on October 19th.  The competition began at 10am on Saturday morning when we met at 242 Main Street to hear the parameters for the competition.  Each team was given the challenge to create an original story to be published across three or more digital media platforms, and incorporating the theme of “And none of this would have happened if you hadn’t arrived 5 minutes earlier.”

Our group –Team Emergence – gathered together in the Emergent Media Center for the 24-hour period to create our story.  We brainstormed potential topics as well as the types of mediums we would use.  Our group was fortunate, as each member had different digital media skills: videographers, journalists, photographers, illustrators and designers.

SorrySpace development

Bullying was the topic we settled on for our story. Due to the recent excessive online bullying that has taken a toll on our Vermont communities, this was an opportunity to address the subject and allow others to share their bullying stories.  While online bullying is a somewhat recent development with the progression of social media, everyone has either been a victim to bullying or a bully themselves.  There is usually a moment in these charged situations when you have a decision to make: will you participate in the bullying? Will you be an observer? Or will you step in to help and support the victim? That decision could have a lasting affect on others around you.

Personal stories will always be the most important ones to share with others and everyone has a bullying story to tell. Team Emergence created Sorry_ (Sorry Space), a digital platform where ex-bullies can post apologies to their victims and where anyone can share their bullying stories. This platform brings awareness to bullying, support to victims and creates a supportive community.  The anonymity of the Web produces opportunities for nameless posting of obscenities, targeting kids and adults. The web expands the reach and impact of this bullying. Sorry_ can support victims in these situations.

Sorry_ was just recently chosen by KIND Projects as a possible grant recipient candidate. Each month KIND awards $10,000 to socially driven start-ups.  Sorry_ could be one of these.   While we are still exploring the future opportunities of Sorry_ this grant would help with that funding.

Follow along with Sorry_ on Facebook.


ErinBarnaby100x133Erin Barnaby is a ’14 MFA in Emergent Media candidate. She is interested in technology as a tool to enhance alternative learning experiences, spending her time within the program exploring museum exhibit design, illustrating participatory children’s eBooks and creating online interactive digital stories. Erin is exploring the benefits of new media pedagogy on under-served middle school youth populations for her thesis.