Ben Winters- Staff Writer
“Is it to much to ask for competent professors? Seriously, I pay how much for my education, the least that could happen is we get teacher who at least know what they are doing.” Where could these misspelled and grammatically incorrect words have come from? No place other than Oneonta Secrets.
If you haven’t used this type of site, you’ve probably seen or heard someone gossip about it. For those of you who have not, they are Facebook pages that promise anonymity and share what people message to them. It can be anything on your mind, whether it’s your dissatisfaction with the college faculty, a girl you can’t get out of your head or a complaint about your roommate you don’t want to confront. This is just a tame example of the array of things that can be found on these anonymous pages like Oneonta Confessions, Secrets or Crushes.
The appeal to some? No one knows it’s you. You can say anything you want and enjoy support through “likes” and comments. In a time full of “catfishes,” hacking and cyberbullying, these pages are easy modes used to insult someone or a whole group of people without having to be held responsible for the consequences. Even when positive things are said, as they often are on the “Crushes” page, it can become creepy and invasive. In a highly unregulated “forum” of sorts, informal Facebook pages are a very hard turf to regulate.
Schools across the country continue to struggle to find a way to regulate these lawless student-run sites. Whether or not it is for the best, students ultimately enjoy First Amendment protection and are therefore not legally liable for the posts made on these sites. With that being said, colleges around the country are still trying to regulate them following obscene incidents. For example, at Dartmouth, it wasn’t until someone was sexually targeted as a result of being posted on a “crush-like” site that actions were taken.
Is this how these things should work? Are we to accept these scary and sometimes borderline dangerous social media outlets as something that is out of our hands due to matters of free speech, or should something be done as we progress as a media-involved culture?
What ever happened to all of our favorite childhood lessons? Don’t judge a book by its cover. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Maybe most importantly, the motherly suggestion that you must “play nice.” With these sites active and gaining popularity, it is spreading around the type of behavior that is the antithesis of our core values. With crushes and secrets, we are judging a book by its cover, declaring love and becoming obsessive without trying to get to know someone. We make it a priority to complain about things that we could use our time instead to fix.
Although it is enjoyable to have an outlet in which you can anonymously express yourself, it may not be worth it for those who deal with the negative repercussions in the end.