Anonymous social media accounts affect MC students

In a college of around 1000 students, it is natural that special rules and regulations are created to better proctor a students usage of campus technology, specifically social media. For example, the Maryville College GMail database is monitored in effort to better protect students and staff. As social media is a strongly developing platform, the college has implemented tactics to keep students safe and maintain a respectful representation of campus.

Popular among the students is an MC confessions account, where students can tweet
@MC_Confessions with various confessions about certain instances on campus or things that bother them. The MC Communications Department closely monitors anything relevant to MC.

Chloe Kennedy, assistant director of communications at Maryville College, explained
the Maryville College Social Media Team, which was formed in 2010 to develop guidelines for social media usage on campus. Part of this team’s focus, Kennedy explained, is “to facilitate
helpful discussions and training among those on campus who use social media to communicate with College constituents.”

“We are aware of several ‘confessions’ accounts on Twitter that claim to be affiliated with MC,” said Gerhard Schneibel, news and new media writer for MC. “Although these are not official MC accounts, they are set up in a matter of seconds by people who could be located anywhere in the world. They harvest the Twitter handles from retweets and follows.”

Many other colleges are addressing the same situation. An article from The Daily Times reveals that East Tennessee State University is currently conducting an investigation to learn who is behind a similar Twitter account associated with the college.

However, not all students are using social media for anonymous confessions or accounts.

“Social media is a platform that has the potential to reach ears internationally about issues or concerns I find relevant to culture. It is an outlet for free writing or free flow of consciousness,” said Sara French, a junior.

Most students consider social media as another outlet for personal expression. Whether
it’s a Facebook page or Twitter feed, students resort to these social platforms to express their thoughts on public issues and personal thoughts and feelings.

“A lot of people have turned their Facebooks and Twitters into therapy sessions. I know way too much about people’s personal lives and emotional health thanks to their hourly updates when I barely even know them outside the internet,” said freshman Rose Sampley.

Megan Sparkes, sophomore, said that she values what social media can bring to her as a
student.

“I live in Gibson. Social media lets me stay updated so I can keep up with events, like health and safety inspections, via groups on Facebook,” Sparkes said.

With Facebook pages representing campus organizations like Mountain Challenge or MC
Residence Life, social media provides a platform for reciprocatory communication between students.
Schneibel offered tips to students, advising how to conduct oneself on the social platform.

“It’s important for students to realize that anything [students] post on social media will follow them throughout their lives and careers,” Schneibel said. “Future employers are going to find out what you posted or shared online. If it’s bad, it could seriously make finding a job after college difficult. It can follow you even as you advance in your career.”

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