Monica Lewinsky Joins Twitter, Thousands Follow

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It seems that at 41-years-old, Monica Lewinsky is ready for her second act. The most famous former intern ever, announced herself to the Twitter world today with a simple tweet, "#HereWeGo." She followed that an hour later with another tweet, "excited (and nervous) to speak to #Under30Summit." In just under five hours, Lewinsky already has over 20,000 followers, and she's already verified.

Lewinksy's Twitter bio says that she's a "social activist. public speaker. contributor to vanity fair. knitter of things without sleeves."

Clearly, Lewinsky did not launch her Twitter account just to discuss knitting. She is using the social media platform as part of her campaign to end cyberbullying and internet shaming.

She spoke today at Forbes' inaugural 30 Under 30 summit in Philadelphia to a room full of about 1,000 accomplished millenials. "I was Patient Zero," she said. "The first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet.”

Who could forget the tabloid scandal of the Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky affair? The stained blue dress, the Presidential impeachment, the betrayal by Linda Tripp, the cigar. It was everyday fodder for the masses, and the public ate it up like a bad soap opera turned reality.

“There was no Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram back then,” she said. “But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites replete with comment sections and emails which could be forwarded. Of course, it was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial up. Yet around the world this story went. A viral phenomenon that, you could argue, was the first moment of truly ‘social media’."

Lewinsky also talked today about her life after the scandal. The past 15 years have obviously not been easy. She was embarrassed and ashamed, she even confessed to having suicidal thoughts.

She tried to move on with her life: handbag designer, reality dating show host, going back to school for a Masters Degree. But her past followed her everywhere.

She finally realized in 2010, following the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, who jumped from the George Washington Bridge after finding out his roommate secretly taped and shared video of him kissing a man, that she could make a difference. “That tragedy is one of the principal reasons I am standing up here today. While it touched us both, my mother was unusually upset by the story, and I wondered why. Eventually it dawned on me: she was back in 1998, back to a time when I was periodically suicidal; when she might very easily have lost me; when I, too, might have been humiliated to death.”

Lewinsky believes that by sharing her story and Tyler's tragedy, that she can help combat online harassment and cyberbullying. “Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too,” she said. “I want to put my suffering to good use and give purpose to my past.”

If you would like to follow Lewinsky on Twitter, her handle is: @MonicaLewinsky.

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