By Samuel Posega
Social media have done the world a lot of good. The Arab Spring uprising was organized through Twitter.
On the other hand, there’s FADE.
FADE, whose slogan is “Nothing Lasts Forever,” is a social media app focused on colleges and the college experience. Posts, which can be a photo/video and/or text, have a 24-hour lifespan, which can be altered in one-hour increments by up-or-down voting by other users.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania this week ranked ninth all-time among colleges for FADE activity, according to the app itself.
It is this brief lifespan that has brought out the IUP student body’s inner white devils, in addition to just their bodies.
In the few days before writing this, I perused the app for material. I lost count of the posts that were solely the n-word in all caps. One user — a white male, of course (because who else in 2015 is causing racial tensions at colleges?) — posted a picture of himself, face visible, drinking with a Confederate flag in the background invoking the “master race” in the caption.
But the majority of the content is not racially insensitive so much as it is just plain old dumb-assery.
This past IUPatty’s party weekend, one post under the name of user Lexi Lockaton showed a photo of a young woman, face visible, exposing her breasts with four mounted state police right behind her, including one officer smiling benignly. The woman’s nipples were obscured by red digital pasties to ensure that the photo would not get taken down for violating FADE’s moderator-enforced anti-nudity ethos.
While the app advertises its ephemeral nature, that post on Thursday had racked up more than 3,500 hours before it expires, thanks to all the up-votes it received. Oh yeah, it’s also visible across the country at any school with FADE, as it qualified for the “Hall of FADEs,” which is exactly the sort of non-pun that best illustrates why the app is so awful.
One student, who has proudly christened herself as “Dumpster Kid,” has consistently posted pictures of her bare breasts despite receiving comments each time that nobody wants to see them and moderators deleting each and every post.
A trend on Monday involved male users posting pictures of their erect penises sheathed by socks.
And it’s not just bodily horrors being posted. It’s also a lot of drugs, primarily weed.
Students post pictures of their paraphernalia loaded with whatever putrescence they’re about to smoke with captions like “before work.” So that’s why my pizza was burnt and late. Makes sense now.
One user who goes by the handle “Old Gregg” posted on Sunday night a picture of his bowl loaded and ready to go, right next to an IUP lighter with the caption, “What homework?” How about the homework you voluntarily forked over $4,735.10 this semester for the privilege to do? Maybe that homework?
Students also post about being high in class, another well-trodden path to a life at the top. Studies have linked, in no unclear terms, the detrimental effects of weed and intelligence. One 2013 study is ominously titled “Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife.” Studies even show a link between “casual” use of the drug and brain abnormalities, affecting regions in charge of emotion and motivation.
And if this is any sign of any burgeoning trend, along with IUP’s perennially skyrocketing tuition, students soon will be paying out of all orifices (as opposed to currently just most) for an education that they’re handicapping themselves from receiving.
But for what it’s worth, IUP’s FADE community — or “Faders,” as is the demonym — is pretty small, and the average student seems to revile them outright. One student posted, “I feel like theres [sic] only 10 people that are on Fade 24/7 and the rest of us just go on when we need to feel better about ourselves.”
While FADE sure has made me feel better about myself, I can’t help but be horrified at the thought that at any given moment on campus I may be within arm’s reach of someone who’s posted a photo of his manhood, obscured by yesterday’s gym sock.
Samuel Posega, a senior journalism major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is from Imperial.