Our view: Good riddance to bad gossip

While Facebook celebrated its fifth birthday yesterday, JuicyCampus announced its funeral after a year and a half.

The popular gossip blog flourished among students from about 500 college campuses hoping to discover which sorority was the sluttiest, where to find the hottest guy in the business department and other – usually sexual – lessons about their respective college.

But now we’ll never find out if there’s been a threesome in Lake Hall. We’ll never find out who’s the blonde with the best lips in the tri-state area. How will we ever again get to squeal about that creeper in Rosie’s?

And how will we ever live without the harsh words said about others and posted on the Internet for everyone, not only in our school to see, but anyone with access to a computer. There are some decent questions on JuicyCampus. Some people are curious as to where the best place to get some drunk munchies is.

Others want to know where the best student jobs are around campus. Having a blog available to students at a university is a great idea when you just have a simple, harmless question like “Where’s the cheapest place to see a movie?”

Facebook is a good place to link up with other students at your school, but there’s no way to just throw around a quick, simple question to the general public.

Students who chose to post ugly gossip, true or otherwise, on JuicyCampus may never realize how much they hurt the subject of their post. Anonymous or not, the words can still very much have a big effect on someone.

As journalists, we understand and value freedom of speech, and nowhere is this freedom more evident than on the Internet. We just have to ask, is it really worth posting worthless libel online in your spare time?

JuicyCampus founder and CEO, Matt Ivester, posted a letter on the site’s blog explaining the close. He explained the cause for the site’s end was because “exponential growth outpaced our ability to muster the resources needed to survive this economic downturn.”

(Looks like the poor economy has even made gossip a little harder to come by these days. Makes you wonder how they were ever able to get word out about Mary’s lovely lady lumps during the Great Depression.)

All joking aside, we hope JuicyCampus may set the stage for other forms of open discussion, maybe not on the same hurtful level as that, but on a more constructive and simplistic level.

Ivester did mention in his letter that he and others in the company are grateful to those who engaged in conversations about online privacy and Internet censorship because of JuicyCampus. That will never be doubted, and we hope to continue to see these sort of discussions continue.

There will always be someone out there who will still want to know who the sexiest teaching assistant on campus is and who they’ve slept with, but we’re a little more concerned with helping get an answer out to the person who would rather know where the best place to get their tires rotated is.

The above editorial is the consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.