Think of the anonymity of ‘Gossip Girl” without any of the New York City glamour and you get a very rough sketch of Juicy Campus. According to the online gossip site’s mission statement, Juicy Campus empowers the average college student with a forum for anonymous free speech. Still, the site’s administrators reserve the right to disclose any private information whenever they desire to avoid legal trouble, one major caveat of the site’s 100 percent insurance of anonymity. Regardless of its mission, Juicy Campus creates a forum for sophisticated bullies to operate, while inviting the World Wide Web to get a glimpse into the pressing matters of college students’ lives, a world that is depressingly lacking in depth.
This is what our generation has to show for itself when left to freely explore the possibilities of the Internet libel, abuse and frivolity. The message board for UR ranges from mildly entertaining topics to more sickening ones. Some even have the potential to be informative, such as the poster who asks about the best places to party. On the surface, Juicy Campus appears to be pure fun. However, its problem is the specificity of the attacks, often so pointed and sharp-edged that they hurt their recipients.
Still, UR’s gossip does not appear so juicy. The posts are indeed vicious, and have rapidly grown in frequency, yet students have replied with affirmations of their loyalty to friends or with my favorite posting long, irrelevant replies. Earlier in 2008, the site sparked controversy at schools that considered outrightly banning it; these initiatives, caught up in the nuances of free speech, have mostly ended in failure. In November, however, Tennessee State University became the first public school to succeed in its ban, bringing increased national attention to the fast growing site. Such an option should not even exist for UR and would surely be an embarrassment.
I could rant that the Web site’s patrons are insecure, immature and bored, except that, realistically, they aren’t likely to be the ones listening. As Juicy Campus inevitably grows until it is succeeded by the next big novelty, we as a student body can show our maturity by not becoming the next national headline. Remember that just as we en masse are capable of fabricating gossip, we can likewise mute it.
This brings me to the golden rule in dealing with bullies, which is to ignore them. That might not satisfy everyone, though, bringing me to lessons two and three discourage and frustrate the gossips. Students at other schools, like George Washington University, have encouraged spamming the site with irrelevant information. While ignoring the site may be the noblest choice, spamming it is one other solution for those anxious to defang Juicy Campus.
Visit the site if you will or post if you must, but please let us leave the gossip sites to primetime television. I leave the decision of what action to take to the student body, whether that be protest, spamming or inaction. Whatever my peers choose, I know I won’t be checking in.
Leber is a member of
the class of 2011.