WARNING: To those interested in visiting this Web site (http://www.juicycampus.com/posts/gossips/all-campuses/), be aware of the hateful speech and offensive language and material.
Look out Facebook, beware MySpace, there’s a new social media sheriff in town. Just last week, the Web site www.juicycampus.com was called to my attention. Juicy Campus is a social networking Web site for university students to post their latest gossip. After scanning the site, an important question popped into my thoughts. Just how much positive networking does this Web site produce? After a deeper look into Juicy Campus, I can confidently say the answer is zero. There is no benefit to Juicy Campus. Being in the public relations field, it is our duty to be aware of the most recent trends. That being said, I have chosen to explain this Web site and why it teeters on the line of dangerous.
Juicy Campus prides itself on 100 percent anonymity for its participants. This distinct trait allows anyone to post anything without comments being censored. This type of free range posting gives people remorseless confidence. Hateful language towards ethnicities, genders, organizations and sexual orientation make up the majority of the Web site.
One way advantage
There are various catches to Juicy Campus’s set up. Catch #1 is that it favors one-sided communication. The sender of a message can post whatever he or she chooses, yet the receivers cannot delete any of these messages. This, in no way, represents an equal communicative exchange. To render total control to the message sender leaves the receiver powerless and bitter. This is the reason for the harsh comments that follow certain messages. There is a reply option below each post allowing readers to write opinions. This sparks anonymous arguments rather than constructive criticism.
People, beware what you post
After reviewing Juicy Campus, I was concerned with the issues of slander, libel and the First Amendment. For information on media law, I looked toward Dr. Matt Bunker, a professor in journalism at The University of Alabama. When asked about these issues, Bunker provided ample explanation. He says libel occurs, “If someone writes false statements about another person that harms that person’s reputation.” Now, it’s time to unveil catch # 2. A Web site, such as www.juicycampus.com, is likely to avoid legal responsibility for harmful statements made on its Web site. Bunker said, “under federal law section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Web site owners are generally immune from lawsuits over statements made by their users.” The First Amendment protects free speech in order to maintain the open exchange of ideas. However, if you were to specifically name a person, the university he or she attends and a detailed description of the person, you could be held accountable. This means that if you cross the line, and someone feels defamed, it is you that he or she is coming after.
In an era when people ages 8 to 80 are incorporating social media into their daily lives, a Web site like this could be dangerous to participants once they leave the comfort of their computer. We all remember the high school girl who was violently beaten by her peers over rumors she posted on www.myspace.com (Read more). Juicy Campus has the potential to lead to events such as this. Message posters may not be as protected under the blanket of ambiguity as they think, and violence may occur due to hateful rumors. Our society, both on and off line, is constantly changing. Though we do not know whether www.juicycampus.com is a mere fad or a steadfast addition to social media, it is up to us, as PR students, to remain informed. Now that you have my opinion, I encourage you to visit the Web site and form your own.
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