by The Milton Measure on Friday, October 28th, 2011
On the morning of Saturday, October 15, Milton students around campus awoke to a surprise as they logged onto twitter: all their friends were tweeting about two particular twitter profiles.Last weekend, these two twitter accounts, called “restlessvirgin” and “academy_bitch” , were created as anonymous streams of gossip. Though not directly mentioning names in their tweets, the account holders made it clear whom they were tweeting about and appeared undeterred by the potential effects of their comments on the victims of their gossip. However, on Tuesday October 18—only days after being created— both accounts were deleted by the respective owners.
Twitter provides an efficient way to share one’s thoughts and enjoy those of others. Yet, the two new twitter accounts used the concept of information transfer for appalling purposes.
Describing everything from the past hook ups to weekend scandals, the creators shed no mercy in conveying all gossip that came their way. It was not long before everyone around Milton was discussing the most recent tweets from the accounts. Students were not happy with the inappropriate tweets that went from entertaining to malicious in just a matter of #hashtags.
Despite being turned off by the unsettling, gossipy tone of the tweets, many students were drawn in by the unique way the pieces of information were presented. Christine Cahill (I) admits that her “first reaction was interest: [the tweets] were snarky and clever.”
Yet, the entertainment from the tweets did not last long, for the impropriety of the tweets increased.
By targeting individual students, the accounts caused humiliation for the victim who’s personal life was exploited for the entertainment of others. Without access to the accounts or names of the creators, Milton students had no control over what was tweeted.
That the twitter accounts were anonymous caused further worry. Cahill commented that “Gossip in general is never good or healthy for our community, but the fact that the tweets were anonymous in a public forum, made their effect much more significant and harmful.” There is no way to stop an anonymous source. Tweeting irresponsibly is easier and more tempting when a name is not attached to the profile.
The tweets affect not only the student body, but also Milton Academy’s reputation. The twitter accounts were created using a public account, meaning that everyone who had a twitter account—including people beyond the Milton community— could see the tweets.
Matt Chen (I), who often tweets, noted that “As a responsible Milton student, we should be well aware that every single action we make will impact others’ perception of our school.”
Milton students must be conscious when representing Milton Academy in any setting, whether it be online or in person. The rumor driven tone presented with each tweet characterized Milton Academy as a pretentious and malevolent community.
The deletion of the accounts has eliminated the unnecessary campus-wide discomfort. With no more tweets, the heightened emotions over the issue have seemed to calm down. Milton students can continue their usual tweeting as normal…for now..
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=1916