Regret what you did last night? Well that’s rough. Imagine how much rougher it would be if your whole college campus could see a play-by-play of it on the Internet. Welcome to Fordham University’s ”Gossip Girl”-like Twitter account, FU_Makeouts, which documents students’ hook-ups for their classmates to see. Students are encouraged to “embarrass your friends” by submitting pics of Fordham students making out in public (a typical example is above). It’s a pretty funny idea, and very popular, but is it okay? Is FU_Makeouts hurtful or is it just in good fun?
In theory, I don’t really think it’s a big deal. Like other student-run gossip, @FU_makeouts is juicy, entertaining fluff. They’re not necessarily intending to hurt people, and all of us should all be able to laugh at ourselves now and then. I don’t think FU_Makeouts is online bullying and I hope it won’t prompt yet another long piece of journalism written by a baby boomer about our generation’s demise. I’m not offended by the Twitter acount per se.
I do, however, think actions like this stifle young people from letting our guard down in an increasingly mediated society and that’s a really bad thing.
If I ended up on an anonymous Twitter feed sucking face with someone, I would feel like that special (or maybe just silly) moment no longer belonged to myself and the person I shared it with. I would feel exploited. I don’t think I’d be able to enjoy going out or blowing off steam on weekends because I’d be worried that at any second, someone might snap a pic and broadcast it on the internet. Paranoia-inducing? You bet.
Social media has infiltrated our lives and in many cases it’s for the better. But especially for young adults, it’s tiring to constantly put on a certain face when we present ourselves on the Internet. So many people fear future employers seeing their shenanigans online, and some even avoid expressing any kind of strong opinion online for fear of offending some person who has the power to hire them (or just their aunt back in the Midwest who checks their Facebook page). Everyone should be able to step back from their online persona and just be ourselves when we’re away from that glowing screen. The idea that we can’t even let our guard down on a night out? To me, that is damn exhausting.
College is a time to explore who you are, experiment, and well, make out with randos from time to time. Hell, sometimes that rando turns into a relationship, who you’ll also likely be making out with in public now and then. As annoying as it may be to watch our friends and classmates hook up at parties, we are all entitled to some privacy from our peers. Generations before us were able to live out their college experience (and questionable choices that come with it) without hundreds of their friends and family members watching it unfold on a computer. Their adult lives are probably better for it. Even if your random makeout with a stranger is impulsive and just for fun, you and that person deserve that time to share with each other. It does not belong to 700+ Twitter followers (or, in the case of poor Slanegirl, the entire world). Kissing and touching are some of the few forms of real face-to-face interaction that are separate from computers. They are one of the only ways people connect on deep level that they’d rather do in person than through a chat window.
Let’s keep at least some of this stuff sacred, @FU_makeouts. For one thing, if we don’t, we’ll be out of outlets to let go of post-exam stress. We might just get out of touch with what a real-life connection is, too.
[Image via @FU_makeouts]