Recently, University students have added new anonymous Twitter accounts to the long string of University-related social media pages. I am sure that many have heard of Scranton Compliments, which took over Facebook last year, as well as Twitter’s Scranton Crushes, Scranton Love Stories, Scranton Problems, The Daily Royal and so forth. This year, a few more Twitter accounts were added to the bunch, namely Royal Thank You, Scranton Bucket List and Scranton Shipping.
While some of these pages became somewhat controversial, none can compare to the most recent student-created Twitter accounts: @uofsmakeout and @UofSwalkofshame. These accounts encourage University students to take pictures of people making out or walking home the morning after a party and post those pictures to the corresponding Twitter page.
These two pages exploit University students’ private lives and split apart the student body. Rather than acting as “men and women for and with others,” as per our Jesuit ideal, these Twitter accounts make us prey on one another and make us believe that exploiting our fellow classmates via social media is acceptable, if not funny. Wake up, University students — this is not “Gossip Girl.” Anonymously posting embarrassing and personal photos constitutes blackmail and can be identified as a form of cyber-bullying.
Two sophomores at The University provided feedback on the issue, specifically Scranton Makeout.
“It’s hard enough already to approach the opposite sex at a party and initiate romantic intimacies. Knowing that opportunistic students armed with camera phones are given the forum to highlight this awkwardness destroys the fragile confidence required to approach a girl and start a relationship,” sophomore Nick Longobardi said.
A victim of Scranton Makeout also provided insight. The sophomore male preferred to remain unnamed.
“I don’t think this Twitter page is a crime, but I had higher expectations from Scranton students. I guess I would hope that people would respect each other’s privacy a little bit more — but they’re not. I am not super offended by the picture posted of me, but it’s weird that some stranger would take a picture of me and my friend in the privacy of my other friend’s home. I did not even know the person who took the picture. I do know people who have felt victimized by the Twitter page, though — we as Scranton students can’t just ignore it. Something needs to be done about it,” the sophomore male said.
I agree with the unnamed sophomore’s statement that he had higher expectations from Scranton students. Exploiting each other, posting embarrassing photos and finding humor in fellow students’ embarrassment creates disunity in our Scranton family. This inappropriate use of social media paints an inaccurate and disturbing picture of The University. Let us remember who we are: we are men and women for and with others. Let us serve and care for the Scranton community rather than ostracize each other. Let us recognize that @uofsmakeout and @UofSwalkofshame do not reflect Scranton in the slightest. We are better than that.
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