Could Videos of College Party Antics Backfire?

ABC News Nightline
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The American way of college. It's never just about the books. It's about ... exuberance. Also sometimes called "partying." Which also sometimes gets out of control. As it did this past Saturday night in the small town of Bellingham, WA.

A video posted online shows a swarm of young people, locked in a battle with police, an armored vehicle brought in to disperse the out-of-control riot. It seems like there's an endless stream nowadays of videos showcasing college kids behaving badly.

This one was captured by onlookers but increasingly young people themselves want to show and tell the world online just how hard they can party.

College party antics are a surefire way for viral success, so much so that a guy created a whole business around documenting the party lifestyle.

It's called “I'm Shmacked.”

He's toured college campuses around the country to film co-eds getting wasted, high and everything in between. The videos have garnered more than 14 million views on YouTube. Shmacked even ranks the colleges based on best schools to party hard, with students saying they watched the videos before applying to certain schools. For some, they even factored into choosing a college to attend.

“In every school I try to capture the real feel for the school, make you feel like you're there,” said co-founder Jeffrie Ray.

But some who have been featured in the videos have a few post-party regrets.

"I never knew that it would be so huge, I never knew it would catch on like that," said "J," who hosted a video on the site. "I initially thought it would just be a thing to look back on."

Even as young people are putting more of their lives online, digital candor can backfire.

"They haven't seen the repercussions yet of the missed job position or the missed entry into a college because of what they posted online," warned Marc Bourne, vice president at Know It All Intelligence Group.

Some partygoers just crave the attention, often bragging about their ragers on social media. Last month in New York, 400 teens broke into ex-NFL star Brian Holloway's home for a wild Labor Day bash and then were smart enough to post the evidence for all the world to see.

Some have even tried to recreate scenes from the movies, like “Project X,” where three high school nerds throw an epic house party while mom and dad are out of town. It was supposed to make them popular but instead turns into a disaster. The movie inspired teens all over the country to host their own “Project X” parties.

A teenager in Florida gives YouTubers a tour of a house. The thing about the house? He said he had just vandalized it. Then he invited thousands to a “Project X” party. Cops arrested him before the event. But no one told the nearly 2,000 people who showed up later that night.

So you look at the scene in Bellingham where at least the mob, while behaving badly, didn't post the video of this themselves. No, they're too smart for that. They're in college.