A few days ago I discovered a juicy new addition to this campus, and judging by the most popular searches this week (Richmond currently holds the top two spots), it seems that a sizable chunk of the rest of our campus knows exactly what I'm talking about.
You might remember the article that ran in The Collegian last year about a fast-growing Web site sweeping the nation's universities -- JuicyCampus.com. The site has posed incredible challenges to schools around the country by giving people the opportunity to anonymously and publicly smear, slander and spread rumors about their peers.
Juicy Campus has the potential to be really bad -- anyone can see that. But before we jump online and start throwing stones at each other's glass houses, we should take a minute to recognize that the Juice is a double-edged sword. It does hold the potential to have a positive influence on our community.
Think about it: Juicy Campus puts a lot of power into the hands of the individual. You can address any of your concerns or questions in a community-wide forum without any regard to social or PC standards, nor anyone knowing it was you. This could be a useful way to investigate how our community really feels about some of the more sensitive issues such as race and diversity. Check out the thread "People on Campus" if you don't follow what I'm saying. A bold remark sparks an anonymous debate, which is judged by anyone who wants to read it. Any viewer can anonymously "agree" or "disagree" with everyone else's opinions, creating an (arguably) very accurate reflection of the university community's sentiments.
Regardless of how you feel about the site, I think there is one concern that we all need to address: Are we capable of handling these types of social tools? With the rapid growth of the Internet and its incredible influence on the human condition, it is safe to say that we can look forward to less privacy and a high level of transparency pervading everything we do throughout the rest of our lives. As we have all learned in recent days, even our private e-mails are technically public information.
Juicy Campus gives us an opportunity to gauge whether or not we are mature enough to utilize a potentially transformational social tool to informally address community issues in front of a large audience. As our beloved blue books and honor code suggest -- nobody can tell you what to do (or write) when no one is looking. Nor should they.
As the Juice's popularity inevitably grows, it'll be fascinating to watch what is revealed about the true nature of the University of Richmond community.
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