I am in no doubt that day after day your Facebook feed is filled with posts to groups like The Nottsfessional and Overheard in Hallward (if people still use that). Hugely popular, often controversial and sometimes tiresome, these posts have the ability to both entertain and bore. But the real question is, do such pages have a positive or negative influence on UoN students?
“Alongside comedic effect, in some ways these pages can be truly beneficial for students.”
On the one hand, you might shrug off their posts as harmless banter. ‘Shoutout to the fitty in George Green’, ‘Where is Bertie the Hallward cat?’, and witty memes of any kind are just a few examples. As well as being comedic, these pages can, in some ways, be truly beneficial for students. Lost student ID cards, students seeking to find like-minded people and asking questions about societies or sports teams etc. demonstrate the usefulness of these online resources. They can be a place for us to gain information, interact with others and make us giggle at our phones all at once.
On the other hand, more often than not posts surface that are offensive, aggressive and genuinely not funny. The Nottsfessional, for instance, is a page that claims it does not directly mention people’s names in any posts, however I have witnessed this happen on several occasions. Such posts can be unnecessarily harmful and nasty.
“Like any virtual platform, it can cause users to be reckless, insensitive and say things that they wouldn’t normally”
If you have a reason to call someone out on their behaviour, be mature and sort it out with them, don’t send it into a public site for thousands of people to see. It’s clear that some users merely want to be purposely outspoken simply for the sake of it. To those people I say, please grow up. If I see one more post about the private versus state school war I might scream.
Also, admins and organisers of such pages need to monitor and filter the content that is put on them by users. If you’re going to make a group like this, at least be responsible. Whilst anonymity on some of these pages means students are less likely to be embarrassed about raising their concerns, this anonymity can also cause problems. Like any virtual platform, it can cause users to be reckless, insensitive and say things that they wouldn’t normally, or don’t have the guts to state in person.
“The recent launch of the private Facebook group Notts Safe Space demonstrates the positive online activism current students are partaking in.”
However, it’s not all doom and gloom for us well-meaning folk. The recent launch of the private Facebook group Notts Safe Space demonstrates the positive online activism current students are partaking in. This page enables students to share any concerns or issues they may have regarding security and wellbeing at the university, alerting them to other students and creating a safer place for us all.
So, while I’m not saying that these pages shouldn’t exist, we need to be careful about the way we use them. Social media is an extremely powerful and influential tool, especially to people in our age range. Let’s make sure it’s influence at the university is a positive one. If you see a problematic post, report it to help ensure it gets deleted and save the antagonism.