Monday, December 9

Spotted on the site: creepers and pranksters


Jeanette Man

If you’re looking to waste time online, do some creeping or play a prank on a friend, Spotted on Bruin Walk is for you. The website, which allows users to anonymously write posts about people they have spotted on campus, has gained popularity, but you may want to use it quickly since I doubt this fad will last much longer.

College students don’t have a need for this local version of Craiglist’s “missed connections.” We all have mutual friends, common interests and always have something to talk about, and a university is one of the easiest places to just approach someone new and introduce yourself.

But while the website is “in,” it’s worth it to look at some of the groups that frequent the site: creepers and jokers.

For creepers, Spotted on Bruin Walk provides a perfect forum for posting the outcomes of their peepings. One user wrote the following post, “Shirtless Asian: I spotted you near the tennis courts today and I must say, you are amazing. Maybe one day I can watch you play? In the mean time, stay shirtless.”

If I were him, I would put a shirt on, as she’s probably hanging out in the bushes with some binoculars. Some posts go further to comment on women that are particularly well endowed, and some even inquire about sexual encounters for three.

It won’t be long before Spotted on Bruin Walk joins the ranks of such time-wasting websites of the recent past such as JuicyCampus or that students once turned to for study breaks.

I recently learned that this website is also a gem for pranksters. I was spotted on Bruin Walk. The post was clearly about me: “I spotted you today leaving the Tours Office. You were cute, brown and hairy. I think you also write for the Daily Bruin.” I immediately assumed this had to be a joke, as “hairy” isn’t a quality I think draws women toward me.

Plus there are no other cute, brown, hairy guys that work for both Campus Tours and the Daily Bruin, so I responded to the post with a comment saying that I’d like to meet up and left my e-mail address.

The step may have been bold, desperate or foolish, but I had to meet the girl that spotted me, just in case it wasn’t a joke. I partly did it because meeting this person would make for a great story, but part of me was actually interested to meet a person who posts on the site.

My perception that this was just someone trying to be funny was ruined when I got an e-mail from a certain Jennifer Kim saying that she was the spotter and asking when I was free for coffee. We decided to meet at Starbucks Coffee on Saturday night. She said she’d be wearing a white top and black cardigan.

I got to the coffee shop with almost no expectations, but I’ll admit I was a little weirded out at myself. I had pretty much agreed to a blind date, something that seems more akin to what single 30-somethings do, not college students.

As I looked around the coffee shop, I ran into one of my good friends who was wearing the outfit I was looking for. She was with another friend who had a camera to document my reaction as I quickly realized they were messing with me.

If I were physically able to, I may have turned red after finding myself in the middle of a well-played prank made possible by the website.

I’ll admit Spotted on Bruin Walk is fun to scroll through and even more fun to post ridiculous comments on. But, while UCLA is a relatively large school, it’s hard to find people with whom we don’t have mutual friends.

Being at a university means that we are constantly running into new people, and we shouldn’t need a pseudo-dating site to facilitate interactions. This lack of need shows in the number of posts that are too vague to actually identify someone or are just a statement of someone’s random thoughts about Pokémon.

So, instead of using a website for meeting people, students should just talk to each other in person ““ you’re almost guaranteed to have something in common, whether it be a class you’ve taken, a mutual friend or a group you’re in. You can always ask the crutch question for all college conversations: “What’s your major?”

A true missed connection is best saved for post-university life when we’re not circling the same people on a daily basis.

Have you spotted Ramzanali on Bruin Walk? E-mail him at [email protected] Send general comments to [email protected]

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