Jodel aims to be the social media platform “that tamed the trolls.” At Hillsdale College, however, Jodel is a toxic cesspool that poisons the student body. Students should quit the mischief and delete the app.
Here is how the German-based platform works: log on, and the location of the user determines what posts the user can see. Users can post videos, conduct polls, or just “jodel” their thoughts, anonymously. They can also “up tick” posts they like or “down tick” posts they dislike. This activity then builds their “karma,” a score that determines how positive a user is.
To prevent bullying, the app tries to recognize when offensive words and names appear in posts and immediately remove the post. Some users with good karma scores are designated moderators and look for inappropriate content.
At Hillsdale, the Jodel posts can be humorous, such as those that joke about the core curriculum or food in the dining hall. Some posts can even be informative, alerting students that A.J.’s Cafe’s chicken tenders are back or that security is cracking down on parking tickets.
It appears to be foolproof, but college students found a way to outsmart the system.
Students who want to gossip about their peers on Jodel don’t use names but instead initials and brief descriptions. One post read “who was that girl with the carhartt beanie on at skyfall” with the tongue and eye emojis. The post is a fail at a compliment, coming off creepy and probably making this young woman uncomfortable that some anonymous person is talking about her.
Users fear nothing when posting something inappropriate or mean about someone. Removal of a post results in a loss of 100 karma points for whoever posted it, which isn’t a big enough punishment. Those points are only important if a user wants to be a moderator.
But the posts often take a dark spin. There are posts saying the “retard employees are working at A.J’s tonight” or that “the kappa with the initials XX looked hot in her mini skirt today.” These posts are rude, and can be creepy. Students target each other, but not in a subtle way.
Polls rate the best butt on campus, or most underrated male or female. The posts alone are bothersome, but then you factor in the engagements. Seeing how many people agree or disagree with the post that is yours, or about you, can be degrading.
One Jodel post once read “why is kappa smoking weed at 9 a.m. on a Monday?” This post is one of the more mild posts, one of the more appropriate posts. It was one of the only posts I could find that was appropriate enough to be printed in the paper. Imagine if this is considered mild, what Jodel must contain.
Friends of mine have deleted the app after seeing a post that hinted at them. The post got to their head and brought them down. Others have kept the app, too afraid to not know if people are talking about them.
Seeing a post about yourself doesn’t feel good, especially because you cannot find out who commented about you. Jodel enables someone to talk about you behind your back in hurtful and disturbing ways.
This is not the atmosphere we should be in or create as young adults. The common problems we see in society with sexism, hatred, and judgment form through Jodel on our campus. Yes, students could put the same content on other platforms, but not anonymously, and it may not reach the same specific audience, making it less harmful to our environment. Students must discourage these inappropriate, toxic opinions, especially on a campus-specific platform.
Jodel doesn’t bring students together, it divides them. It creates an uncanny feeling on campus and amongst students. It makes students more self-conscious. It allows students to be disrespectful to authority, which divides campus. Jodel preaches unity, but Hillsdale students are abusing the platform.
The solution is to delete Jodel.
Reagan Gensiejewski is a junior studying rhetoric and public address.