Daily Egyptian

Secret admirer: flattered or freaked out?


To the student body of Southern Illinois University Carbondale: Twitter is not your personal playground to bully fellow students.

Accounts such as SIU Secret Admirer, Crush, Confessions and so forth, toe the line between humor and harassment. Too often they are merely an anonymous outlet for cyberbullying, and it needs to stop. Posting false, incriminating, demeaning, outright hurtful and untrue things for the world to see is childish and morally wrong.

Anonymous accounts have been a fad in the Twitter-verse for some time, but each account usually develops its own personality. Accounts such as Secret Admirer possess nothing of the sort; rather, they are a constant stream of disrespectful students posting blasphemy about the appearance and sexual activity of their fellow students. While some students may be flattered by the attention they have received on the account — after all, some tweets are innocent in nature — others may be hurt or offended by the statements’ vulgar or violent character.

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We understand friends promote some posts on these accounts, but while entertaining at times, most are simply bullying. Posts about who has been run through by whomever, or whom you would have sex with so long as he or she had a bag over their face are not a joke. They tamper with students’ real lives and interactions between their peers.

Have some decency. Have some respect. Have the guts to say something so awful about someone to their face rather than hiding behind an anonymous account.

To the students posting distasteful statements: You are not the ones who have to deal with the backlash of posting false and or humiliating information out to more than 1,000 people to read. You are cowards and bullies facilitating the downfall of another person’s reputation or self-worth, and you should be ashamed.

To the administrators of these accounts: You are just as ethically responsible, if not more so, than the posters themselves. Anonymity on the Internet is a fantastic phenomenon and can be used for many reasons. However, the one you have chosen is malicious. We ask you to think about the kind of activity you are endorsing and take responsibility for it. Consider a filtration system rather than simply feeding them through the site. You are, by default, responsible for each word posted from that account.

To the students who have fallen victim to this cyberbullying: We support you in your endeavors to stand up for yourselves and encourage you to talk to someone you trust about what you’re going through. Realize that these people are cowards hiding behind Internet anonymity and do not merit your time, emotion or response. By no means should these accounts be shut down or censored by outside parties. Rather, those involved need to establish some standards. There is a difference between censoring and not propagating harassment. After all, they are called “admirer” accounts. However, our generation’s reputation is dwindling with each tweet if this is what admiration has come to.

The Daily Egyptian editorial staff can be

reached at [email protected]

or 618-536-3311 Ext. 252.

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