Using Bored@Butler is like taking a shit: it’s an effective means of procrastination, it often happens in the Butler bathroom, and everybody does it, but nobody wants to talk about it unless they’ve accomplished something particularly impressive.
I myself had heard of Bored@Butler as a sort of mythical creature, existing only in Bwog tips and conversations I overheard while wandering the library late at night. I wasn’t intrigued enough to actually make an account until one tipster sent us no less than seventeen tips in the space of twenty-four hours, reportedly because they were “on b@b rehab” and “a little lost tbh.”
Once my account was made, I spent a few minutes of my Friday procrastinating on a paper. A few minutes quickly turned into a couple of hours, as I scrolled through pages of people lamenting their (lack of) relationship status, asking for advice on everything from mixers to internships, and critiquing the end of a webcomic most of us haven’t read since 2013. I even came across an old video of what appeared to be the founder of Bored@Butler, discussing how he’d created the site to serve as a forum for students to post their opinions online without having to worry about their names being attached.
And then it hit me: this is why nobody at Columbia uses YikYak. B@B is literally Columbia’s slightly more advanced, slightly more pretentious version of YikYak. While exciting at first, upon further consideration, this realization didn’t surprise me in the slightest. However, a quick Google search confirmed that, while the popular app was launched in 2013, B@B has been around since 2006. This is, I suppose, just another example of Columbia students being ahead of the curve. (#ccstateofmind, as the Columbia publicity department might say.)
However, as I went deeper and deeper into the tunnels of Columbia students’ minds, I began to understand why that anonymous tipster might have wanted to take a break from B@B. While this site may be a good forum for asking strangers questions you’re too scared to ask your friends, complaining about how terrible your midterm/paper/problem set is, or debating the merits of Barnard as an institution, the ability it gives its users to, essentially, scream into the void can be addicting. If you go on B@B too long, you risk becoming too steeped in the culture of dank memes, and too intoxicated with the fumes of anonymous validation. You might even forget how to interact with real people. And, unfortunately, not all of us are good enough at CS to survive as hermits.
With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for how to wean yourself off of B@B – both for our tipster, and for the next few people who might want to step out into the proverbial sunlight. Get off the computer, find a Sharpie, and write your questions or opinions on Butler itself: on the walls of the stacks, in the stairwells, or beneath a desk. Or, if Butler isn’t your library, there are plenty of bathroom stalls around campus that could use a little decoration. If you’re feeling particularly daring, graffiti the bathroom at Hungarian.
Or, if you really don’t want to move (we understand the feeling), you can find another online venue that’s less likely to start connecting your comments to the latest campus drama. Make a private Twitter. Snapchat random usernames. Download YikYak. Or, if you’re really desperate, you could always send your thoughts to us through Bwog’s anonymous form – at least one person will read them. Probably.