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Why Zoella Was Wrong to Quit the Internet After 'Girl Online' Ghostwriter Controversy

09/12/2014 16:39 GMT | Updated 08/02/2015 10:59 GMT

I've got a bone to pick with Zoella. And it's not because she used a ghostwriter for her debut novel Girl Online (more on that later), but because she temporarily "quit the internet" as she couldn't handle the backlash.

Now, I'm not saying she deserved the criticism she received - she isn't the first person to hire a ghostwriter and she won't be the last - but as someone who built her entire brand online, she can't just quit the second the going gets tough.

"I'm taking a few days out and off the internet because it's clouding up my brain," tweeted the 24-year-old yesterday.

Unsurprisingly the internet wasn't "clouding her brain" when things were going well. When she was clocking up 2.62m Twitter followers, 1.9m Facebook fans or 6m YouTube subscribers.

But the second Zoella's vlogger bubble burst, when the people who bought into her brand felt understandably cheated (her book sold a record-breaking 78,109 copies in its first week) she runs for the hills.

Her critics are angry because Zoella built a brand on being herself. And using a ghostwriter, thought to be award-winning author Siobhan Curran, contradicts the very essence of her brand.

But for every critic, there are others jumping to her defense. It's a fictional teen novel, they say, so why does it matter?

I sit on the fence in terms of the ghostwriting issue. I'm both unsurprised and uninterested in the fact that she didn't write the novel.

I think it would have been wiser to coach her to write the book herself, but I'm sure the bigwigs at Penguin knew what they were doing - and, after all, they've already made a shitload of money from the book.

What I do take issue with, however, is Zoella's retreat from the internet - however short it may be.

There's nothing wrong with getting upset or even angry over such a backlash in private. If anything it's perfectly normal.

But, as a role model for girls, it's important to take the responsibility seriously - in good times and bad.

Both Zoella and her publisher have justified the decision to have the debut novel ghostwritten.

"Everyone needs help when they try something new," said Zoella this weekend. "Of course I was going to have help from Penguin's editorial team in telling my story, which I talked about from the beginning."

So, Zoella, if you're going to stand by the decision to take a ghostwriter, then stand tall.

It's no use throwing your toys out of the pram and storming off to your room, it's time to act like a grown up and take responsibility for your actions.