This weekend a friend brought to my attention a new website that is taking over college campuses, JuicyCampus.com. This website is the latest to join the breed of college gossip websites online. It is an interactive blog which allows students to make anonymous posts about other students, on-campus organizations or any other issue that revolves around campus life. As Jessica Bennett writes in Newsweek:
JuicyCampus.com is a rapidly growing gossip site that solicits content with the promise of anonymity. But what began as fun and games—and now has spinoffs on seven college campuses, including Duke University, where it began—has turned ugly and, in many cases, flatly defamatory. The posts have devolved from innocuous tales of secret crushes to racist tirades and lurid finger-pointing about drug use and sex, often with the alleged culprit identified by first and last name.
Some sample recent post titles include-
-List of People with Fake Tans and Fake Purses
-SMU Girls to Avoid (Golddiggers)
-Sorority Girl's Best?
-Biggest Drug Users on Campus
-Boys Most Likely to Send you Home with an STD
The post titles above are followed by discussion threads and comments from other students on the particular issue. There are comments about specific individuals with remarks that would make any human being cringe. I was disgusted when I read comments about people and organizations that are completely useless and just plain cruel. I cannot even begin to imagine what I would feel like if I were the target to some of these emotionally hurtful postings. It is hard to understand how a person could feel such hatred toward another individual that they justify it by writing crude, defamatory and vicious comments in a public forum for anyone to see. The saddest part of it all is that these comments are being written by the people who sit in our classrooms and co-exist with us on a daily basis. We are torturing people emotionally through our words and then we wonder why shootings at schools and college campuses are happening all the time?
Blogs have given each and every person in this nation a unique outlet to take full advantage of their freedom of expression and speech. The fact that we are using this expression to hurt others and participate in catty immature gossip makes me want to exit the world of blogging all together. In no way do I want to be a part of a system that allows and accepts sites that hurt other people.
CNN JuicyCampus Video