Gossip is a pretty big part of human existence—we tend to default to talking about the affairs of other people when we don’t know what else to say. It’s easy to fall into, “Did you hear about Karen and Lee?” and “Can you believe he would say that to me?”
And with the recent rise and fall of Boise State University Confessions, the thought springs to the front of the mind: is Boise State really that gossipy? Maybe. But the confessions offered an outlet where students could say otherwise very secret things publicly in a fashion similar to Frank Warren’s Post Secret.
Whether or not Confessions was a good or bad thing, it was a unique, and pretty fun thing.
When large groups of humans get together, our nature is to sort of gravitate toward gossip. According to freshman Rachael Budahl, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“I feel like most of the stuff people talk about is stuff (students) shouldn’t do in the first place. It’s not so much he-said, she-said stuff,” she said.
And perhaps the Confessions page was a way for us to let out our secret romances and inner strife for a little while. It provided a way for us to get our glimpse into other people’s lives without knowing who they were. And for those willing to share, it was a way to get things off their chests without fear of being personally hurt.
“I thought it was a great outlet for students to share their stories,” said freshman Esteban Galan. “Kind of sad for it to be taken down; I think it united the campus in a unique way.”
While that may be true, the ability to share stories and experiences anonymously is a great privilege for our generation. But the anonymity of the Facebook page did ultimately lead to its downfall.
The use of the system to call out students by name almost seemed inevitable, but despite the worries of some, the rumors and scuttlebutt on the page didn’t really seem to affect anyone.
“Regardless if they had any truth, I don’t think they held any weight, because you can’t fact-check. Definitely embarrassing, but by the next day, ignored,” Galan said.
Really, the urge to gossip is no new concept. We’ve been gossiping since before the internet, before print. There were probably cavemen once talking about the size of the elk one of them took on, or how stupid another was for trying to take down a woolly mammoth.
The internet and Facebook really just provide us with more immediate ways of spreading information, or potentially
“It’s something new our generation has to deal with,” Galan said.
For those who benefited from the page, it provided an outlet for students to reach out and express parts of themselves in ways that are sometimes hard to do face-to-face. It was a way for students to connect. And it seems that students agree the misinformation really didn’t have any long-term negative effects.