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Leah Askarinam

When seniors Mike and Will, not their real names, createdWTFTulane on Twitter in June, Mike said he thought the accountwould turn out to be a personal joke with just a few followers.

Mike and Will conduct their Twitter account anonymously. Assuch, they agreed to speak to The Hullabaloo on conditions ofanonymity.

“The whole idea wasn’t to have a viral effect on the Tulanecommunity,” Will said. “It may have been desired but notexpected.”

As of Thursday, WTFTulane had nearly 1,300 followers, includingformer Tulane athletes Shaun King, Matt Forte and Jerry Williams,making it one of the most popular Tulane-related Twitteraccounts.

WTFTulane’s cofounders Tweet daily – making fun of Tulanestereotypes, commenting on the Green Wave and venting about theuniversity’s shortcomings. As such, WTFTulane describes itself as”Tulane’s official underground source of news.”

The co-founders activated the account during the summer. Mike,who is interested in satire, and Will, who is interested increative writing, decided to create an account whose purpose was tomake fun of Tulane’s tendency to overgeneralize and exaggeratetrivial day-to-day events.

“I think the Tulane community is so enthralled in gossip,” Willsaid. “Who hooked up with whom last night, and ‘Oh my God, I can’tbelieve Ben’s girlfriend got into a fight at The Palms.’ It’s theseminute things that people are just so obsessed with, and it’s funnyto put it into a lighter perspective.”

Its first followers, Will said, turned out to be the very peoplethey were targeting: the members of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

“There are three things always in high demand at Tulane,” readsa Tweet from June 8. “1.) ADERALL 2.) BOOT BRACELET 3.) KKG FORMALINVITE.”

The co-founders said that members of Kappa Kappa Gamma weretheir first patrons, comprising approximately 50 followers. Onemember recently offered the cofounders an invite to her formal ifthey came out with their identities. The co-founders, however,remain committed to their anonymity.

“It just adds to the mystique of it all, remaining anonymous,”Mike said. “Our main goal is just to spread humor.”


Matt and Will – who identify themselves as “Tulane supporters” -said they do not wish to discourage students from attendingparticular events or to create animosity toward any one person.Separating themselves from “lowbrow” news sources such as JuicyCampus and CollegeACB, they avoid targeting individuals other thanpublic figures. Larger groups, such as Greek organizations or headfootball coach Bob Toledo, remain fair game. They said, however,even when they make fun of an event, the purpose is not to hurt theevent’s potential.

“We’re never saying, ‘This is stupid,'” Michael said. “We pokefun of it. But I still think that we can raise interest in things,even if it seems like we’re putting a negative light on them.

Ashley Nelson, a Tulane professor who teaches managementcommunication and social media, said part of the fun of WTFTulaneis that it targets such a wide audience.

“It pokes fun at everybody – not just the administration, notthe school, not athletics, but also the places people go,” Nelsonsaid. “And also things that are happening in New Orleans. It’s notjust specific to a certain group on campus or an idea on campus.And that’s the fun about it.”

Nelson started following WTFTulane in June, when it hadapproximately 100 followers. Recently, she Tweeted a New Wavearticle at WTFTulane to help a former student, who had beenfeatured in the article, gain a bigger following on Twitter.

“My intent was to broaden [her] audience, and it worked,” Nelsonsaid. “And that’s the beauty of it.”

In addition to professors and students, several on-campusdepartments follow WTFTulane, including Newcomb-Tulane College andthe Office of Undergraduate Admission. Tulane’s public serviceinternship program also follows WTFTulane.

Monique Labat, public service internship program manager, saidthat her office follows accounts such as WTFTulane for a fewreasons.

“There are still a lot of students who are unaware of thisreally great opportunity [the internship program], not only forprofessional development, but the lagniappe of getting their secondtier completed, so we want more students to know about us,” Labatsaid. “But then we need to keep our ear to the ground as well interms of what the student body is thinking about.”

Freshman Jon Brodo said he discovered WTFTulane through Twitterduring the summer. He said its feed previewed the commongeneralizations at Tulane before he arrived for his first year oncampus.

“I think it’s tongue-in-cheek humor,” Brodo said. “You can’ttake it way too seriously, but at the same time, it’s interestingto see what’s out there.”


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