Twitter: friend or foe?

September 14, 2015

As many Palmetto students may know on Thursday, September 10th, a Twitter page by the name of @mpsh_roasts, was created and began posting comparisons of students to unflattering animations, animals and pictures.  Fellow Twitter users submitted these comparisons to @mpsh_roasts via direct messages. The mocking page quickly gained popularity over its span of four days, reaching almost 500 followers, including students from other schools who joined in on the heckling.  

Cyberbullying on social media platforms can lead to students’ low self-esteem, and leave them feeling virtually teased by the amount of retweets or favorites the post gets. In this case, some of the “roasts” racked up over 80 retweets.

“If this was considered bullying, parents or police would’ve bothered. I don’t think this was a form of bullying because the pictures were sent in by students themselves,” owner of @mpsh_roasts said. “There are those groups of kids who can laugh and take a joke and then there’s those who can’t.”

While some responded to the roast account deeming it “immature” and “disgusting”, others fueled the fire with encouraging comments praising the comedic quality of the posts.

“I don’t personally think it affected others or the school, it was just for laughs, like when you joke around with your friends in the hallway,” @mpsh_roasts said. “Nothing personal, we weren’t bullying anyone.”   

In response to the MPSH roast account, another account by the name of @mpshcompliment gained immense popularity among Palmetto’s Twitter users. They too requested direct messages, but rather than humiliating comparison photos, they asked for compliments about Palmetto students to post anonymously. Immediately the account received positive feedback from a surplus of students who applaud the positive message.

“I think that if I’m anonymous people will feel more comfortable sending honest compliments about others I think that if they know who I am they’ll be more hesitant,” the owner of the  compliment page said. “I’m not doing it so people will like me more or less– I just want people to feel better about themselves And by people seeing anonymous compliments about themselves, I think it’s really working.”

On the contrary to the MPSH roast account, the compliment page had a different opinion of cyber bullying.

“People underestimate the power of cyberbullying and think that just by closing the screen, all problems are solved, ” the owner of the MPSH compliments page said. “But it’s more than that; even though you are being “roasted” online, the people retweeting and favoriting a picture of you juxtaposed with a rat or a cartoon character are real– the pain will always be real. Teenagers hold so much more influence over individuals than they realize.”

After creating such accounts, both the roast and compliment pages were replicated by multiple schools in Dade County. Schools including Palmer Trinity, Coral Reef and TERRA gave credit to Palmetto’s original account for sparking the idea. In addition to the positive outcome of the Palmetto’s compliments page, the roast page was also replicated adding to the Twitter feud among students.

“The roast page posted a very inappropriate picture of me which made me very upset and frustrated, and it made fun of me and other friends of mine,” junior Amanda Trivizas said. “The page should be deleted immediately.”

While the roast page leaves students feeling embarrassed and ganged up on with every retweet and favorite, the compliments page has quite the opposite effect.

“It’s [the MPSH compliments page] a really nice account. Whoever is behind it is making the school feel more connected as a whole,” junior Daniel Pita said. “It gives me more self confidence, you never really expect a comment so it’s a nice thing to see.”

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