One recent, major change to the world of LUMS as we know it has been the arrival of the CampusFeed application to the mobile devices of students across campus. The app is an anonymous, location-based social network that, despite not boasting too novel a concept, has really changed the social landscape of the students. While some believe that the app is a breeding ground for all sorts of undesirable behavior and beliefs, I believe that there is much more about the app that can be considered beneficial to the student community.
First of all, everyone has secrets. Even if they aren’t huge, life altering pieces of information, there are still some things that we bite our tongues about because we either feel stupid or fear judgment while saying them. By providing the safety blanket of anonymity for its users, the app is allowing people to get those things off their chests and not feel the stupidity or judgment that they have attached to it. Sometimes, students can find other students who can relate to these struggles and have meaningful conversations with them through the app.
Secondly, with a campus so large and people so diverse, people with social anxiety and related problems often feel like they can’t speak up or approach anybody. The app serves the purpose of emboldening these individuals so that they can strike up a friendship with a like-minded student in the virtual world, and eventually make that connection in real life. Social anxiety is a real issue that a lot of students face when coming to college, even if they don’t usually struggle with it, because of how new the environment is. Anything that helps reduce this issue that we face as a community is a welcome change.
Additionally, as I have observed, the different batches of LUMS don’t really intermingle with such ease. The senior batches give off an air of superiority, while the freshman batch shows greater ease communicating amongst each other. Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but rather an observation. With Campusfeed, these labels of freshman, sophomore, junior and senior are removed, leaving just people. You could be a freshman talking to a senior or a sophomore talking to another sophomore, and it wouldn’t matter. This paves the way to creating a stronger community feel amongst students.
Next, when considering the types of things people post on the feed, there are two types of posts I’d like to call attention to. First, there are the amusing posts. These are the posts that give people a small break from the stress associated with life as a university student, and just offer a good laugh. Second, there are the posts that raise discussion. As one of the premier universities in the nation with a student body that is so diverse, LUMS has a culture of humanitarianism. With this app, people can start discussions on topics that most people would be too afraid to do in real life such as religion, gender, sexuality and politics while maintaining their anonymity. This puts these topics into a more public sphere rather than just in private discussion, which allows the student body to gain more exposure to the wider world and opinions.
Of course, no system is perfect, and as many students would have noticed by now, there are also many ways to use this app to spread negativity. When looking at this issue, however, it is important for us as a community to enforce a certain standard for how we maintain our online spaces. As a part of the future of this country and the world, we should discourage bullying, harassment, hate speech, rumors, and defamation in our online spaces. Campusfeed isn’t simply another trend that has arrived but rather a blessing that we should take full advantage of.
Note: Reviews are not endorsements.