You meet someone. Say it’s at a party. Or even through class. Do you want to ask them out? Maybe ask for their number, see how that goes? No, wait, the normal first thing to do is post about him or her on the Internet. Right?
Binghamton Crushes and Bing-U Secrets have entrenched themselves into our social lives. They’ve reshaped the ways we think it’s normal to approach and publicly write about others. As much as these sites seem to offer benign ways to vent or announce a crush to the world, what about the darker side and trickier questions?
Binghamton Crushes and Bing-U Secrets thrive on anonymity, defamation, narcissism and voyeurism. Further, these sites establish a culture on our campus where it’s normal to post observations of other students that qualify as borderline stalking, creepy at best.
Still, these sites are so woven into our social fabric that it’s neither weird nor uncommon to ask if a friend has seen a particular post. But what are the costs behind all these anonymous posts?
Binghamton Crushes and Bing-U Secrets’ continued popularity is also confusing. That these sites came about in the first place is no surprise; they have parallels on campuses across the country. But these sites have maintained their popularity both with posters and followers here in unexpected ways.
Binghamton Crushes has almost 4,500 likes. That represents a sizable portion of the student body here. It’s hard to think of any other Facebook page with as many student likes. For reference, Pipe Dream’s page, which features breaking news and stories about campus life, boasts 2,635 likes.
What need do Binghamton Crushes and Bing-U Secrets meet that we are otherwise without? Have we really grown so inarticulate and socially crippled that we need the anonymity of a keyboard to express our feelings? Instead of owning and communicating feelings of attraction, desire, loss or anger, we hide behind the veil of a computer screen … and that’s just for the posters. As readers, is the entertainment that good?
If so, who’s to blame? Technology?
We are also taken aback by the posts that must be categorized as extreme. For instance, a post on Binghamton Crushes, from Oct. 6, reads: “Family Feud at Tom & Marty’s on Saturday, blonde kinda curly hair, you had on a flowy white shirt and pastel orange short shorts. I saw you once at a birthday party/pregame on Court st a while back…” This crosses the line of cute and flattering, entering cyberstalking territory.
Back in the day, so we hear, people asked each other out on dates. This means that if you saw someone cute across the Spine on campus and wondered if he noticed you too, the normal thing to do might be to actually get up and talk to him. It’s not a bad idea, and it might work out better than creeping from afar and posting it on the Internet.