Most people avoid the comments section on YouTube like they avoid Sodexo’s cheeseburger chowder.
This is for good reason. Scroll down below a video of cats bobbing their heads in sync to dubstep and within moments you’ve unknowingly walked into a debate about whether Stalin was really such a bad guy after all.
Anonymity on the Internet is a curious (and by curious I do mean awful, awful, awful) thing. Not only does it make us feel invincible by giving us the power to say things we would never dream of saying in real life to an actual living, breathing human being, but it gives our words — however obscene or untrue — a certain weight.
This is true of social media in general. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have allowed us to publish whatever meaningless garbage enters our brains at any given time. In this way, social media tends to gives us an — albeit false — sense of importance and entitlement.
Pair this with the ability to be totally anonymous in sharing those garbage thoughts and you’ve got the perfect, poisonous recipe for a page like “STU & UNB Confessions and ‘Compliments’ ” (I’ve chosen to give “compliments” an extra pair of quotation marks since every “compliment” that appears on the page is really just one form of anonymous sexual harassment or another).
The thing is, it’s hard to avoid the YouTube comments section when it’s following you around at school, criticizing the things you’re doing or wearing or saying for the whole rest of the school to enjoy.
We mustn’t forget its sister pages of yesteryear: Spotted at UNB and Spotted at STU, in their heyday also outstanding in their ability to make students feel like their every move (even those they have no control over) is suddenly fodder for public debate. Perhaps this new hybrid is even more damaging, however, for as the admin put it in a recent post on the page: “Spotted at STU and Spotted at UNB are not completely anonymous. Plus I will be posting everything uncensored too. They have rules, we don’t.”
Excellent. Because nothing spells a happy, healthy campus like the ability to call out others with absolutely no rules or repercussions.
These pages keep springing up and will keep springing up unless we take a step back as actual living, breathing human beings and collectively quit scrolling down below.