Being a high school student is confusing and difficult even at the best of times. In 2020, thanks to social media, it’s apparently become even worse, turning into a hellscape where Gossip Girl-styled Instagram accounts are created to post anonymous rumors that anyone—even people from different parts of the country—can make.
The best example of this is a TikTok video where a 19-year old from New Jersey named Katie explains how she decided to pick a random school to mess with by creating a tea/shade account filled with rumors about its students, probably for no reason other than to remind the world that teenagers are absolutely goddamned terrifying.
Taylor Lorenz tweeted out the video with the understated observation, “This is so chaotic.” In it, we see Katie run down her methods. She picks “a random high school in Kentucky,” tags people who go to the school, follows them, asks for anonymous confessions, then sits back to watch a bunch of strangers from a different state tell her secrets about one another and wonder who among them is running the account.
She shows off one DM she received, which is someone telling her that they farted in class and blamed it on another student. She also promises to reveal who she is at a certain number of followers, but thinks nobody will be able to guess “this is run by a girl in New Jersey who had no clue who they were.”
It’s a nightmare, but one we’re not all that surprised to see given that teenagers are always on the cutting edge of using technology to torment each other. The promise of the internet to connect people from distant places—to foster a new age of empathy and understanding—has long been destroyed by hungry start-ups and big corporations. Leave it to the kids, though, to be the real innovators in making online interactions more alienating and paranoid than ever before. No adult is anywhere near as maniacal as a bored teenager trying to have fun on the internet.
XOXO, modern life is hell.
Send Great Job, Internet tips to firstname.lastname@example.org