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I Downloaded Jodel and Here’s What Happened

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Helsinki chapter.

I still remember my entrance exam day pretty well. I came to Helsinki specifically for that, felt nervous, took the exam in a room full of other nervous people, and after the exam, went to the toilet. I read all the fun/weird/stupid messages left on the door by people who were on their way to class, going through heartbreak, or debating the pros and cons of veganism. They were all students in that scary, scary place, and they all seemed really cool to tiny, intimidated me.

Fast forward to this day: I’m finally nearing the end of my BA studies, I’ve taken at least one mind-numbingly boring lit class in the very same room where I sat sweating over some question about pentameter more than three years ago, and I still haven’t taken part in the essential part of campus culture that is writing messages on toilet doors. I can never be bothered to dig a pen out of my stuffed backpack, and also I’m just a tiny bit convinced that a police officer would burst through the door as I’m scribbling on it and I’d go to prison for vandalism. However, as with everything these days there’s now an app for that, and it’s beautiful.

Jodel is an app designed for anonymous on-campus communication, where you can send messages and photos to users within a 10 kilometre radius. Other users can then up- or down-vote them, essentially moderating the feed so that it stays interesting. Everything you do earns you either positive or negative Karma points, which as far as I know mean absolutely nothing but collecting them gets weirdly addictive. It’s like a university toilet door combined with Tinder and the bit in a pre-teen girls’ magazine where you could ask questions about boys and acne. Which should be awful, but it’s actually… Kind of fun? Granted, the discussion is rarely particularly high-brow, but most of the time it’s the sort of cosy student banter you’d have with your friends in real life, with surprisingly little trolling and, miraculously, no dick pics whatsoever. Instead, there’s a special channel dedicated to photos of people’s cats (they are all beautiful) and for some bizarre reason a toy fish pops up every evening to wish everyone good night. Jodel might be the only place I’ve ever encountered online where anonymity doesn’t mean a flood of unhindered hate speech and harassment.

It’s a great way to check the weather before getting out of bed in the morning (someone will have moaned about it), discuss the best Unicafe lunches that day, and complain about coursework piling up because you’re spending all your time on Jodel. Basically, it’s like carrying a real-time toilet door with you wherever you go – unless you’re going to Vantaa, which I’ve heard is a dark place in terms of Jodeling opportunities. And while the themes tend to get a bit repetitive, with pizza-related dilemmas and bad Tinder dates comprising at least half of the messages on the app, there’s something reassuring about knowing that you’re not the only one wondering if it’s too much to order two pizzas and some falafel for dinner.

Like all good things, Jodel will probably come to an end sooner or later. But until then, I’ll enjoy chatting about absolutely nothing with fellow students and upvoting every cat picture I see, and I recommend joining in on the fun. Just don’t blame me when it’s suddenly 2 am and you’re still refreshing the feed “just one more time”…

Photos: Unsplash

Passionate about social media, food and travel. Former Editor-in-Chief of HC at Helsinki.