If you’re an avid tweeter like me, odds are you spend many of your idle moments perusing Twitter in search of a quick 140 characters or less laugh, insight or news bit. If you’re a tweeter and an Ole, I’m here to tell you that you’re in luck! There are numerous Twitter accounts that have sprung up in the past year that can provide a quick fix for all of these needs, with a campus-specific twist.
Obviously @StOlaf, the official St. Olaf college account, can provide information about all the happenings on the Hill. Most sports teams, clubs and committees are also now tapped into the Twitter world – posting scores, advertising events and advocating for their causes.
While these accounts are perfect for keeping Oles in the loop, a number of students have taken it upon themselves to provide the Olaf Twittersphere with a slightly more “unofficial” taste of life on the Hill.
The parody accounts @MyLifeIsOle and @OleGirlProblems have gained followers for tweets that leave Oles laughing and thinking, “Ah, I know exactly what that feels like.”
@MyLifeIsOle, a campus favorite, boasts 768 followers as of press time and is the inspiration behind the popular hashtag #MLIO My Life Is Ole. The bio for the account reads, “Classiest college in the world, smells like cookies, Carleton sucks, ’nuff said.”
A more gender exclusive account, @OleGirlProblems allows Ole ladies to bond over anything from the disappointment of not getting Friday Flowers to the perils of room draw and registration.
Serving a purpose as similar as their account names, @ISpyStOlaf and @iReallySpyStOlaf tweet funny observations of Oles doing unusual things or wearing unconventional clothing around campus – not quite sure it’s flattering to be the subject of those 140 characters.
Brand new to the St. Olaf Twitter scene are @PeopleofMellby and @OleGossipGirl. Both accounts have produced chuckle-worthy material thus far and are gradually establishing themselves within the Olaf Twittersphere.
Under the protection of Internet anonymity, the Ole accounts can post whatever they want, occasionally leaving their followers with the thought, “Um, did you really just say that?”
The parody accounts had gone unaddressed by the school until a conversation between @MyLifeIsOle and the official St. Olaf Twitter account occurred on Sept. 17.
The banter began when @MyLifeIsOle tweeted: “In other news as of today the official @StOlaf twitter follows me. The relationship is either gonna [sic] be hilarious or deadly,” to which @StOlaf replied “… or maybe a little of both?”
Thus, it seems that St. Olaf recognizes the humor and non-malicious intent of the St. Olaf Twittersphere.
While I would like to think the creativity of Oles is unrivaled, particularly in the Twitter world, St. Olaf was not the first campus to see a trend in parody accounts. Even our rival Carleton is among those schools that have jumped on the bandwagon although our anonymous Ole tweeters are obviously superior to the Knights.
The University of St. Thomas, our neighbors in the MIAC, engaged in a minor Twitter scandal last winter when the school took action after students garnered complaints over a parody account.
The students claimed the account, most similar to @OleGirlProblems, identified and accelerated many of the stereotypes of the St. Thomas student body and gave a bad impression of the college.
The complaints led St. Thomas to take immediate action, sending a message to the account demanding that it remove all “intellectual property” that the account did not have official consent to use. The account heeded the request by removing the university’s logo, all the while continuing to use the account as they had before.
That, fellow tweeters, is the beauty of free speech. So long as parody accounts do not claim to be officially affiliated with the college, it seems they will be able to continue filling newsfeeds with campusjokes worthy of Ole laughter. #MLIO.