I don’t want our site to become some sort of clearinghouse for all things JuicyCampus, but I have one more thought on the forum that I think is worth sharing. Actually, it’s more of a “strategy.”
Those of us interested in staunching the flow of good morality out of the student body at Our Fair University want to know how to deal with JuicyCampus. Max McGowen, to whom I previously linked, thinks we ought simply to boycott JuicyCampus. If no one posts on it, it can do no damage. Of course, this won’t work. Any “boycott” will be the lost-cause effort of a few principled people, while JuicyCampus will continue to be a pit of libel and filth.
I would like to suggest that those boycotters are misguided. Their hearts are in the right place, but they’ve misinterpreted the beast with which we’re dealing here. JuicyCampus is “Web 2.0.” It’s not like the the Rotten.com of old. Strictly speaking, JC is just an anonymous message board, capable of carrying any sort of message the writer/reader is willing to put out, however malicious or benign. Websites that subsist on user-provided content can effect the type of content they get by molding the space within which that content is presented. The most important element of that molding, though, is actually done by the writer/reader. He or she creates hateful, “juicy” content, which encourages more of the same. A website covered in filth and solicitations for filth is likely to get more of the same. It’s not that people are all terrible on the inside, but an environment like JuicyCampus brings it out of them. That doesn’t mean, however, that every writer/reader has to play along.
Among small movements, one of the most popular tactics for public engagement is to pretend that one’s group is not actually unpopular. The approach is similar to astroturfing: at a protest, on a forum, in a press conference, you pack the seats with your supporters and pretend like you’re just naturally the majority. Ron Paul supporters did it to great effect during the Republican primaries this year. Decades ago, libertarians calling themselves the “Circle Bastiat” (after the nineteenth-century French political economist) did it in a televised program with the Governor of New Jersey. The point is that our environment often conditions our responses, and it’s “consciousness-raising” and behavior-changing to introduce someone to an environment with which they’re unfamiliar–say, one in which everyone on JuicyCampus is a Dadaist or everyone in New Jersey is an anarcho-capitalist.
Let’s do it with JuicyCampus. What’s stopping us? Why not flood the forum as if we aren’t a tiny minority of its posters? It’ll carry our message (or non-message) just as well as it will carry any other. Go and do it now.
1) Launch JuicyCampus.
2) Post something utterly ridiculous and benign. A few ideas: free-verse poetry, absurdist short prose, wikipedia articles, long explications of your various political philosophies, silly attacks on yourself, transcripts of conversations you’ve had or plan to have with other people (or yourself), the titles of the last ten books you read, your homework.
3) Reply to a similar post by someone else. These forums thrive on interaction, and it’s not hard to play off someone else’s absurdity.
4) Vow to do this daily, and never to succumb to the temptation to use JuicyCampus the way it’s “supposed” to be used.
For the health of the student community, we can’t ignore this forum. We need to turn GW’s JuicyCampus into a joke. Then, maybe, other students will realize the absurdity of it all, and play along.
It’s worth a shot.
UPDATE: Our “colleagues” over at I Drink Your Blog want to do the same thing, but only because “Icarus Kitsch” hates “jappy” sorority girls.
UPDATE II: The Colonialist joins our merry band of JuicyCampus saboteurs. Also, some sexy beast keeps posting e.e. cummings’ poetry on JuicyCampus.