Duke student Powerpoint does viral damage

Microsoft Powerpoint

A Microsoft Powerpoint presentation made by a Duke student has gone viral. Image: Matrixizationized / Flickr / CC-BY

While preparing to graduate from Duke, alumna Karen Owen created a Powerpoint presentation that has created a firestorm. The Duke student Powerpoint detailed sexual conquests. Intended just for friends,  Karen Owen’s Powerpoint went viral — with heavy collateral damage.

Karen Owen’s Powerpoint

As a project “just for fun,” Karen Owen created a Powerpoint of sexual conquests. The Duke student Powerpoint outlined every pairing she had been a part of. First, Karen Owen shared the Powerpoint with just her friends. Quickly, though, the Powerpoint presentation got sent around Duke, then around the world. The seedy nature of the Powerpoint plus the back story of a college student made it quickly go viral. Though it was never intended for a wider audience, the Powerpoint presentation has been downloaded more than 2 million times – a growth rate not even no fax payday loan stores can match.

Duke student Powerpoint reopens wounds

It was just a few short years ago that the private life of Duke became international news. After the lacrosse team was charged with (and later cleared of) sex crimes, the private life of the college was spread across the world. The new Powerpoint by Karen Owen has reignited a discussion of the promiscuity of college students at Duke. Some say that Duke is unusual only in how much attention the students get. Others argue that there is something unusual about the culture at that college.

Lack of redaction on the Karen Owen Powerpoint

While some are questioning the intelligence of Karen Owen’s choice to make the Powerpoint, there are other concerns. Jezebel, which first posted the Duke student Powerpoint, did not redact any names. Karen Owen, as well as several of the named students, questioned the journalistic responsibility of this move. After direct requests, many, though not all news outlets have redacted the names of the people involved. What do you think?


Duke Chronicle