Hannah has mentioned the term, "The Snowball Effect", several times while recording her tapes. The Snowball Effect is the thought of one little, insignificant thing that grows and turns into a huge problem as more things are rolled on. When a small rumor turns into a huge important thing because of what other people have added on to it, that created more and more problems for Hannah. The "snowball" is first introduced when Hannah's first kiss, Justin Foley exaggerated what happened when they kissed. This gave more people a reason to treat Hannah the way they did. She started to get a bad reputation and everyone thought less of her. Justin Foley was Hannah's first reason why she killed herself.
Alex Standall was Hannah's second reason. He also helped the snowball gain speed by ranking Hannah on the top of his "Hot or Not" list. Alex put Hannah in the "Hot" column while putting Hannah's old friend Jessica, right next to her on the "Not" column. He used Hannah to get back at Jessica, not knowing the consequences of his actions. The list Alex Standall made had given her classmates to think of her the way they did.One of them, Bryce Walker, even used the list as an excuse to humiliate Hannah and caused Bryce,who is mentioned throughout the tapes,to grab her in public. They took advantage of her and Hannah felt worthless. No one was aware of the battles Hannah would face and that...the war had just began and Hannah had already lost.