Are you DTF? A look into the #sobepls incident

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 When Seoyeon Sobe Sim, a senior at Dougherty Valley High School, posted asking about the hookup culture at UC Berkeley, she simply hoped to stir up a few laughs.

Most of the questions prospective students post in the UC Berkeley class of 2018 Facebook group are fairly normal. The posts usually ask about what classes to take, who has the same orientation dates and what others’ majors are. But Sim’s post received thousands of likes and hundreds of comments, with hundreds of likes on some of the top comments. The first comment, “sobe pls,” received more than 300 likes and became a hashtag (#sobepls) later in the conversation and throughout the Facebook group.

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When Sim first thought of the post, she was in the middle of writing an essay she hadn’t started that was due the following day.

“I resorted to distracting myself from the assignment at hand,” she said over Facebook. Sim explained that her intention was to be humorous, calling the post “a joke,” and that she expected “mild amusement” from other students’ comments. The comments, however, were not what she had anticipated.

“I was fairly surprised!” Sim said. “At first, reading responses was fun, then it got tiresome, then it got substantially creepy, as the jokes became more explicit.”

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But for Sim, her post is not something she necessarily regrets. Sim said the number of responses she received was “overwhelming” at first, but she was glad people stopped commenting on it after a few days. The comments were not just limited to Facebook. People from her high school inquired as to why she posted it in the first place, and some of the middle school students she tutors even asked her about the incident.

“I panicked and refused to comment, as I’d rather not explain the meaning of ‘DTF’ to young sixth-grade girls,” Sim said.

Unfortunately, Sim will not be attending UC Berkeley in the fall of 2014 but has opted to attend Carnegie Mellon University. The reactions garnered from the post solidified this decision.

“I, hopefully understandably, would rather not go to a school where I’ve set myself up to be ‘DTF girl,’ ” Sim said.

Although the comments on the post have died down, people continue to make references to Sim’s post by tagging #sobepls on social media networks besides Facebook, such as Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr and Instagram.Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 3.26.29 PM

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Contact Chloe Tarrasch at [email protected].