Many people would certainly say the new Burnbook app is quite far from “so fetch.” The app was released for free download on iTunes for iOS and Android over the past few weeks. iTunes, however, has gotten a lot of critical and negative review for allowing the app on their site.
For all of you Mean Girls fans out there, you can probably gather how Burnbook operates most likely. For those of you who have not seen Mean Girls, it is a 2004 movie where a group of popular high school girls made fun of their peers and put them in their physical “burn book.” To viewers of Mean Girls, we often overlook the characters actions and see their bullying and gossiping as comical in the film. Don’t get me wrong, I think the movie has some hilarious moments, but it does also teach some good life lessons. However, bullying is still highly relevant in all levels of education today, even collegiate, and has moved more into the online world more than ever.
The Burnbook app is similar to the app Yik Yak, that also caused a lot of controversy in the fall. Burnbook is anonymous as well and uses geo-location to manage the users feed. When you open up the app, you click on your target school community that you belong to. This has caused a lot of drama and extreme controversy on a scale much larger than other sites in the past, such as private Facebook burn pages or Yik Yak. Burnbook takes the cyberbullying to a new level where specific schools are having a hateful culture develop.
On the app it says “Together, we can keep a secret.” My issue with this statement, or their tagline, perhaps, is that on social media, it is the farthest thing from holding any secrets. Users of Burnbook can post about anyone they want and people can comment about what they think about them and spread further gossip.
Overall, I think it is fair to say how this app can be seen as clearly damaging of relationships and hurtful towards the people around us. I fear for our future generations and what they will have to endure with many social channels interfering in their lives. The app is a key example of cyber-bullying out in the open and fueling other people to participate in negative conversations as well. I would like to see the app get eliminated eventually. For now though, it’s best to just avoid these types of apps and influence any younger kids in our own lives to not engage either. If you can end up succeeding in that, well, “you go, Glen Coco!”
For more information on Burnbook and to see screenshots of actual posts on the app, check out the attached Mashable article here.