Juicy Campus harmful to student community

You don’t have to watch “Gossip Girl” in order to know the damaging social prospects of gossip Web sites and the lengths people will go to avoid having negative information posted about them on the Internet. The discussion of other peoples’ flaws, secrets and personality traits offers nothing valuable or positive to the community. At their best, these sites provide entertainment at someone else’s expense; at their worst, they make people feel hopeless and terrible about themselves. A case of the latter happened in 2006 when Megan Meier of O’Fallon, Missouri committed suicide after a series of demoralizing and bullying bulletins were posted about her on MySpace. 

Juicy Campus, a Web site that has recently become extremely popular at Washington University, facilitates the same kind of Internet bullying on college campuses nationwide, and it’s time we collectively stand up to this immature and harmful activity by making an effort to boycott it.

Though Juicycampus.com has some tame elements, including discussions about entertaining professors, good or bad class experiences and whether the University’s admissions office is telling the truth about its selectiveness, many threads on the Web site take on unavoidably hurtful topics. These range from discussing which freshmen are the sluttiest to which seniors are the hottest, or listing a person’s name and allowing the cyber-community to anonymously trash or praise that person. The topics and content on the site can certainly be quite painful for the individuals and groups publicly dissected on the thread, depending on how they react to their public humiliation. 

There is something about the anonymity of the Internet that allows otherwise respectable and reasonable human beings to verbalize their most hurtful and damaging opinions without concern for how deeply others may be affected. We are mature enough to take responsibility for our own words and actions. It is a shame that even Wash. U. students, who as a whole are such friendly and compassionate individuals, have fallen prey to the petty temptation of verbally destroying their fellow students on this Web site.

The University community should be a place where all students feel welcome and valued. Juicy Campus has the possibility to deeply alter the community and comradeship that we currently enjoy, and we should all be working to stop this from happening. By visiting this Web site, we only increase the potency of its pettiness. If we collectively refrain from using it, then posting there won’t be an effective way to express one’s jealousy, disgust or hatred. If you really need a way to let out angst or indulge in petty gossip, do something useful instead. We have plenty of engaging ways to spend our time that can beneficial to ourselves and our community, so there is no reason to sit at our computers and act like whiny preteens instead.

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