Trigger Warning – This article contains conversations about spiking.
With a focus on anonymity and hyperlocal community, Jodel is unlike any other social media app. In a world seemingly built around likes and shares, this app ignores the blueprint of social media apps that came before, and gives each user a platform to be completely anonymous and unapologetically themselves. Given the uniqueness of this app, it’s unsurprising that it is one of the most popular platforms in Europe and is continuing to grow.
Isabella is a student in York who is an ambassador for Jodel, and has spoken to WARO about her experience with the app. “I feel that Jodel prides itself on allowing this kind of equal opportunity for young people, and old people in fact, to express themselves without being placed on some kind of pedestal, because they’ve got a certain amount of followers, or a certain amount of people that have already seen content that they’ve created, and therefore there’s that bias depending on who uses the app. Having the elimination of followers really helps because it means that everybody is equally presented.”
“Obviously, Jodel is profileless, completely anonymous, which also helps in terms of making sure, no matter what, your voice is heard. Obviously, if there are comments being made that are offensive, they get flagged up automatically and removed if necessary. But let’s say that there is a political debate happening on Jodel, you will get two sides of that story and they will both be presented equally without fear of one being suppressed due to an algorithm. At the same time, if you were being horrible, or making it personal, it will get taken down very promptly. It seems to have that good balance of anonymity and safety so it doesn’t seem like there is a compromise being made and I really like the way that it works.”
“It’s been a really interesting thing to watch, as someone my age, because a lot of people my age are leaving Instagram and Facebook in favour for more apps that take on a more anonymous, less like based approach. I believe there was a video released, it must have been a year or so ago, about how things like likes play on our dopamine. Obviously mental health is a huge issue amongst young people, and for companies to be playing on that, it just doesn’t sit right with my ethical compass.”
Moreover, Isabella had an experience with spiking, and with reported incidents of spiking in nightclubs and venues rising, Jodel has helped spread the word about cases and has helped identify where is helping and where is harming. “Everyone was boycotting the night clubs, the nightlife of York, and on the app, there was an ongoing discussion about spiking in which a lot of us were talking about venues in the city where we had been spiked, and raised awareness of this. That way, we feel that people can make an informed decision about where they want to go of an evening and where’s actually making a difference – because we’ve had some night clubs respond really well and completely shut, in solidarity with the movement and other night clubs wait until the evening to shut, as if it’s an act of goodwill and definitely not a case of them shouting when they realised that nobody is going to come. I feel like us using Jodel has helped identify where there are problems. I feel that is so helpful, knowing that, one, unfortunately, we’re not alone, but at the same time it’s reassuring to know that it wasn’t that I was targeted just for myself, and two, that it is trying to be resolved. No measure is going to be 100% fool proof, and I totally get that, but seeing clubs making an effort, with metal detectors, with some kind of increased searching, and actually showing that they care about the wellbeing of the people that frequent them – that in itself is almost enough for me.”
“At the end of the day, spiking, whilst it is increasing, is very much a minority instance of what could actually happen when you’re out. It’s unlikely that you’ll get spiked unless somebody’s going around spiking every drink in a certain nightclub, but you’d be aware of that through things like Jodel and things like Facebook and other social media. There would be a big deal made out of it if everybody is coming out spiked, however you can take simple precautions in night clubs or clubs allowing you to use things like drinks covers. I know the place that I got spiked has bought drinks kits and has made the signature drink a bottled drink so that you can just put a lid on it and things like that, and it’s small but it helps. It’s a deterrent at the end of the day, but obviously we’ll still get people that know what they’re doing, people that come armed with needles, unfortunately and that who all admitted that has made me quite scared to go out when scared to approach crowded places. So if you’re also scared to go out I’d say maybe see what bars are in the city and things like that, go to somewhere where you feel safe at the end of the day your personal comfort is key to going out and actually having a good time, because you can go out as much as you want, you can go with all the confidence in the world, but if you’re still scared, you’re not going to have a good time and it’s unfortunate that we’ve got to live in a situation where we’ve got to prioritise our safety overall happiness in a situation that wouldn’t normally ask for that but situation that we find ourselves in unfortunately.”
With a social media platform like Jodel, it’s so easy to build connections in the local community because the app works by connecting users by location. The algorithm is also unlike other platforms due the fact that the app is profileless. “You don’t have to worry about the maintenance of popularity, or the possibility of being cancelled for your own opinion, because it’s all us. At the end of the day, no one’s going to know it’s you unless you tell them. You don’t have to worry about that maintenance – it’s very much, if you want a one-night stand with Jodel, so to speak, you can. You don’t have to face that judgement because nobody knows who you are – you’re just a faceless person. The moderation on Jodel is significantly better than the moderation on the likes of Facebook and Instagram, in the sense that Facebook and Instagram have been known to shut things down for conveying an opinion that isn’t theirs and not shutting down things that are very clear instances of cyber bullying, whereas Jodel won’t shut down something that’s based on opinion, but they will shut down something that is personal attacks or down right rude. I feel that the aspect of Jodel is one that benefits the users more than them, and I really like that because I prefer a company that is selfless rather than selfish.”
“If you search up Jodel on Google or the App Store, it will come up straight away. It will be known as a hyper community-based app and you’ll know you’ve seen the right one when it’s bright orange. It is in your face, and no matter where you are in the country you will always see where you are at that present time, so it uses your location and shows you posts from that location.”
Download Jodel on the Google and App Store! https://advertising.jodel.com/appdownload-en
Words: Maia Barker / Interview: Dom Smith