Posted by: robinsonwarner | August 26, 2008

Juicy Campus: The Flawed Wikipedia of Social Interaction

Now I’m not entirely sure if everyone has been informed about this new website called Juicy Campus, but it is stirring up quite the controversy.  For those of you who are unaware to the purpose of this website, it serves as a gossip website for college campuses all across the United Stats.  There is a list of schools on the website that are already being discussed but let’s just say you can say whatever you want it even if you aren’t from one of those schools.  For example, on the opening page, there is a reported rumor about an individual from my alma mater, which doesn’t support the website, claiming he is HIV positive.  You can go to the website here.

Now as much as everyone loves gossip, information and rumors about people, I’m fairly certain, to the reasonably intelligent student, the credibility of this website has already been compromised.  I mean I enjoy hearing about that girl who was Chinese finger trapped in the boys dorm sophomore year or how So and So has been rumored to have slept with more people than Wilt Chamberlain, but every one of these things only hints at, at most, the slightest kernel of truth.

What is important to consider is that there is absolutely no verification process for these rumors, because they are rumors.  It is a website that is in the business of promulgating untruth.  They are aware of this and yet they flaunt it.  The literal philosophy of this website is to be in dealings with information that is no way rooted in truth.  I mean from time to time someone might put something on there that is true, but it will be lost in the sea of lies the website’s boat rides on.

This is very similar to Wikipedia; not identical, but very similar.  Anyone can write anything on Wikipedia on everything at anytime of the day.  References are necessary to verify claims of fact for those writing, which lends it to have a little more truth to it, but consider this analogy.  Let’s say you are writing a research paper and you’ve heard that Wikipedia gives you quick and easy information on a particular topic.  So you type in “Plato” and “learn” everything you need to know on the man.  You write your paper in broad strokes, generalizing, filling in missing arguments and logic, and you ultimately cheapen your understanding of Plato.  You take what you read on Wikipedia to be the whole scope of “truth” because it was easier and convenient.  What you truly “know” is actually very little.

This is what happens to people who would be foolhardy in the same way about the Juicy Campus website.  Some guy might be interested a girl, let’s call her “Stephanie”, but they are lazy and sitting at their computer, as most American college students are.  They want to get to know her, but they don’t necessarily want to get up.  So they fire up this website and by some off chance, read about Stephanie and there is some guy on there saying that Stephanie is a total slut and apparently she gave it up for a slice of pizza.  Well, the guy who is interested in Stephanie, being a typical male engaged in the tragic double standard of male promiscuity, will be completely turned off by the sexual practices of Stephanie and will proceed to then try to sleep with as many girls as possible over the next six months; and not think twice of it.

But in reality, Stephanie is a real sweetheart who likes all the same movies as this guy, they come from similar backgrounds, have the same favorite food, etc.  The guy’s understanding and true knowledge of this young woman has been reduced and cheapened to a blurb, a soundbite, and a conveniently simple analysis.  The problem with a website like this is that people are not simple, not one bit.  People are complicated, dense, damaged, and sometimes inaccessible.  They must be approached carefully, with patience and interest in mind.

Perhaps someone posting something on this website might have glimpsed into the person about whom they are writing, but this is not the entire scope of th person.  They might know what they’ve done, but they don’t know who they are.  Juicy Campus supposes that people are like Post It Notes, when they really are like Moby Dick.

It is also terribly necessary to think about where rumors and gossip really come from.  In a setting like college, where sexuality, drinking and drama all unfold, people really just want to know with whom everyone is sleeping.  Now if there is a negative sexual comment posted by someone on this website, in all likelihood, this person was rejected by that person or they had a negative experience with this person and this is a way of getting back at them in an attempt to project this humiliation on another.

This works the same way that a travel website does.  The only people who actually say anything are those that had a really horrible experience.  Why does someone feel compelled to bash this hotel?  Well, because someone took a dump in their gumbo and they want to find an outlet for this aggression as well as for maybe some retribution.  You’ll never hear nearly as much from the people who had an “okay” or “stellar” time as you will from the people who “hated” it.  You rarely hear positive gossip.

“Dude, did you hear about Julie?”

“Totally man, I heard she did twenty hours of community service this week.”

“Really? I heard that she makes a nice squash casserole for five dollars and then gives the proceeds to a children’s hospitable.”

“I also heard she is really funny, nice, smart and looks really good in a sundress”

“I heard that too.  Where did you hear that? Juicy Campus?”

“Nah man, I had a five minute conversation with her.”

“Dude.  You gay?”

So, my gentle snowflakes, gossip as you like.  Spread rumors about people, but understand this is not who the person is.  You are reducing them to an easily consumed anecdote that can be processed and disposed of quickly.  Kind of like a presidential candidate.  You may then move onto the next easily consumed blurb of information.

So perhaps the next time you hear some rumor about a person, a soundbite or a fact, do some research before you cast judgment.  I think the person would like to be given that chance.  Wouldn’t you?

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Responses

  1. This is brilliant! Fantastic post.

  2. […] 23-11-2008 Magi-Nation Expands to Add More Interaction Saved by glennhardaker on Sat 22-11-2008 Juicy Campus: The Flawed Wikipedia of Social Interaction Saved by kflan on Fri 21-11-2008 Disney – Pixar – WALL-E – Eve InterAction Saved by systemnotes […]


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