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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.