If you’re one of the 400 members of the Hillsdale College Jodel community, you’re probably all too familiar with its “#GoodVibesOnly” mantra.
Since its arrival on campus last fall, Jodel — properly pronounced as “yodel” — continues to grow in local popularity. According to Gustave Sauveroche from the Jodel Headquarters in Berlin, Germany, Hillsdale is currently the 11th largest community on Jodel in the United States.
Sauveroche admits that over at HQ, our community is considered to be a “funny and great one” with more than 175 posts each day. All posts are anonymous, but users post under the condition that their words be used to promote #GoodVibesOnly. This means no names, no harassment, no spamming, and no photos of others.
The creators of the app intended Jodel to be a way for people to communicate easily and instantaneously based on your geographical location. They tell new users, “Never underestimate the importance of fun. Don’t take life too seriously, smile and enjoy the ride.”
While it’s easy to dismiss Jodel as just another harmful social media platform used to post freely without tangible consequences, it’s also amazing to see how our Jodel community has become just that — a community.
Nowhere else on campus can you find such lively discourse among strangers about life at Hillsdale College. On Jodel, nothing is too insignificant to discuss. Even seemingly ordinary things, such as pictures of sunny days, become something worth celebrating and sharing with fellow users.
But why is Jodel so appealing to students? The posts are relatable.
Because each post is anonymous, users are more inclined to post without worry of judgement. Consequently, the posts are candid, and they become instantly relatable and popular with the other users. Some poke lighthearted fun at Hillsdale culture — like the post that read, “Whoever is running the DSP Instagram deserves a raise” — while others dialogue about overcoming the woes of Hillsdating. Still others started an open dialogue about mental health, asking for advice before a first visit with a counselor and encouraging other students to take care of themselves during midterm season.
Jodel posts often recognize outstanding individuals at Hillsdale — Jodel allows users to mention public figures such as professors or celebrities by name as long as it is in a positive context. There hasn’t been a week where someone hasn’t mentioned their appreciation for “John from the Splex” and “Bobby from Saga.” Another recent post asked users to name the “Best professor on campus and why?” and users recognized Professor of History Brad Birzer, among other great professors.
Of course, Jodel’s effect on self-esteem and the community are important to monitor. Like on all other social media platforms, there are sometimes extremely insensitive or sarcastic posts that can easily be misinterpreted as cruel. Avid posters ought to consider the effect that their words have on others and strive to maintain a fun, yet positive, atmosphere.
With the increase in the app’s popularity in Hillsdale, Jodel administrators have recently increased the amount of monitoring. They are aware of the impact of hurtful words and insensitive jokes and promptly remove any posts that violate their code of conduct. Too many infractions might result in a ban from the app. In addition, each user has the ability to report any posts that he or she finds harmful to the community.
The app is not completely anonymous either. Users’ IP addresses are also tracked by and stored at the Jodel Headquarters and can be accessed in case of an endangerment of life or in severe cases of bullying that require police intervention. While Jodel values anonymity, it values the safety of all members of its community even more.
And at the end of the day, it’s the students who have both the ability and responsibility to promote positivity on this campus online and in person. Hopefully, the moments of relatability and connectivity won’t be limited to online discussions on Jodel’s anonymous platform.
So go tell John that you’re happy to see him next time you’re at the Splex. Thank Bobby and your professors for their awesome work on campus and find love in the community around you. Have a little fun during your college days. And don’t be afraid to share those #GoodVibesOnly with all of campus.
Luciya Katcher is a sophomore studying economics and French.