Twelve thousand. That is how many followers Elon’s anonymous twitter accounts have accumulated, and the number is increasing. Anonymous twitter accounts are a huge trend at Elon University. The question is, how much do these anonymous accounts have an effect on Elon’s culture, and is it good or bad?
There are accounts pertaining to different stereotypes, such as the Elon princess, Elon gays, and GDIs, the students who aren’t affiliated with Greek life. There are also accounts that the majority of the student body can relate to, including @ElonConfessions, @xoGossipSquirl, and @OnlyAtElon. @xoGossipSquirl and @OnlyAtElon focus on aspects of campus and events that most students can relate to or find amusing. Elon Confessions is an account where anyone can submit a confession and have it be tweeted anonymously.
The tweeter behind @xoGossipSquirl, who wished to remain anonymous, feels that Twitter is very prominent at Elon. “…Because of that, I would say that Gossip Squirrel has an effect on Elon’s culture. I tweet things that I feel are relevant to the students here, and in that way, I reflect what happens on campus, which essentially makes up our campus culture,” @xoGossipSquirl said.
@xoGossipSquirl is shocked that the account became so famous, @xoGossipSquirl said, “it started as a stupid joke, and it’s still a joke, but it’s a joke that I facilitate and that everyone can take part in.”
When asked if Elon twitter accounts have a positive or negative effect on Elon’s culture, @xoGossipSquirl said, “I think that anonymous Elon accounts could have a positive effect, but are being used for negative purposes for the most part, and therefore have a negative effect on the school’s culture.”
These twitter accounts have potential to simply be entertaining and funny, however, they need to be careful not to cross the line. @xoGossipSquirl does a good job of commenting and poking fun at Elon occurrences without being offensive.
@OnlyAtElon, run by senior Joe Bruno, also does a good job of tweeting about different events or inside jokes at Elon without being insulting. His tweets have a large impact on the campus, but he remains humble. Bruno said, “Because of my tweets, Acorn cookies are on meal plans, students have had security removed from them for cheering too much at games and students have had people attend their events. People literally tweet at me to advertise their events, how great is that?”
@OnlyAtElon gives students a way to publicly voice their opinions about different aspects of Elon. Students feel connected to these tweets because they are so relatable. Bruno said, “I think a reason it was so successful was the fact I was retweeting people who tweeted at me.”
While some anonymous Elon twitter accounts are insulting or offensive, Bruno tries to keep @OnlyAtElon lighthearted and amusing. Bruno said, “I have never sent a tweet with the intention of inflicting harm on someone or a certain group. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t make fun of things. I have made fun of myself, my fraternity, my best friends you name it. Everything is fair game, but you have to be careful that you don’t cross the line.”
While the anonymous twitter accounts have the potential to have a negative effect on the school’s culture, Bruno and @xoGossipSquirl are trying not to let that happen. Bruno said, “GS [@xoGossipSquirl] and I both don’t take ourselves seriously at all and the moment we start is the moment we delete our accounts.”
@ElonConfessions is different from other anonymous accounts because it is made up of tweets written by students. @ElonConfessions is edited to prevent graphic or rude tweets. The person who runs @ElonConfessions has said that they don’t post every confession submitted, because they are too offensive or crude. Some people’s confessions are genuine compliments, but others use the page to vent about roommate or relationship problems.
Some of these anonymous Elon twitter accounts are risky, but as long as their tweets aren’t taken seriously or personally, then they won’t have a negative effect on this campus. However, if their tweets cross the line, or target a specific stereotype negatively, then they have the potential to divide this campus and offend students.