Crushes dumped, other handles thrive

Crushes dumped, other handles thrive

Pitt-Johnstown students express negative feelings toward the deactivation of UPJ Crushes through tweets.

Taylor Fowler, Brianne Fleming, Features Editor, Opinions Editor

e one of the top social networking sites for college students, tweets are becoming the fastest and most up-to-date way to interact.

According to some  tweeters, though, one of these accounts may have created the wrong kind of attention.

“@UPJ_Crushes” was an anonymous account in which students were to submit their secret crush confessions to the website Students seemed to instantly respond – quickly creating close to 1,000 tweets about campus crushes.

However, the crushes Twitter account was deactivated March 24.

Some students said they believe university officials were responsible for the account’s deactivation, but Public Relations and Communications Vice President Bob Knipple said Pitt-Johnstown was uninvolved.

“(The account) was taken down without any involvement from police or administration,” he said. “It was not a response to any request.”

Rumors spread on campus that Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs Paul Newman had a hand in shutting down the account, but he said that is not true.

“I had no role in the shut-down,” he said. “I advised some students I knew to disassociate themselves with it out of concerns for their reputations and future employment prospects but was surprised, yet gratified, to see (UPJ_Crushes) shut down.”

Although Newman said he was unaware of specifics, he said many tweets were viewed as threatening, harassing or bullying.

“There were some vulgar things said about faculty and staff that were way over the top,” he said. “Whoever had the threads shut down did the right thing.”

Newman said UPJ_Crushes could have been damaging to Pitt-Johnstown’s reputation as a whole.

Pitt-Johnstown freshman and psychology major Alex Overly has been an active tweeter for about two years.

Overly said she was flattered when she saw that someone tweeted about her to UPJ_Crushes, but she’s not sure it is the kind of attention she is looking for.

“It makes you think, what are people really thinking when they see me?” Overly said. “It is totally based on looks, not if others actually care what you’re like.”

Overly said she thinks these types of Twitter accounts are an effective way to get student responses but mostly for social reasons.

“I think the current accounts are more for entertainment than being a useful tool for students,” she said, adding that she thinks it would be convenient for professors to post Twitter updates for students.

“Let’s face it,” she said, “most students are more likely to check their Twitter 30 times a day rather  than to look at their email.”

Many of the crush tweets seemed to be directed toward UPJ athletes, such as wrestlers and baseball players.

Wrestler Travis McKillop said he is undecided on the account being deactivated.

“When I saw the tweets about me, I thought it was pretty funny,” he said. “I got some laughs from it.”

McKillop said, although the account provided entertainment, he thought the tweets got out of hand.

“Some girls had to have gotten offended (by them),” he said. “I feel like it was supposed to be a secret admirer type of deal, but it got too creepily sexual.”

McKillop said he doesn’t think it is possible to have an account like this one without inappropriate comments.

“There will always be ‘that dude’ that will go out of line,” he said.

Senior Makaela Vescovi said she disagrees with the account’s deletion.

“I thought it was just harmless humor,” she said. “It was really popular because it was new and funny.”

Vescovi said, although some tweets crossed the line, people shouldn’t take them so personally.

“I don’t think anyone would actually say half the things they submitted, especially if they had a real crush on that person,” she said.

Vescovi said she thinks the graphic tweets would have died down as time went on.

“That stuff is only funny for so long.”

Some other UPJ Twitter accounts include UPJ Problems and Pitt Johnstown SGA. UPJ cheerleading and wrestling also have accounts.

Though many of the student-based Twitter accounts seem to be more for social reasons and have caused controversy, there are UPJ tweeters who are aiming for a more positive outcome.

Former Pitt-Johnstown Programming Board Business Manager Leslie Galando said she is in charge of the “@UPJToday” Twitter account that she created about two weeks ago.

Galando said she wants to make it clear that her Twitter account is not associated with other UPJ accounts, such as UPJ Crushes.

“My account is nothing like those,” she said, adding that UPJ Today could be a beneficial thing for students if used efficiently.

“As a former Programming Board member, I realized the difficulty it takes to get the word out,” she said. “Therefore, to make it easier for all students, my Twitter account is created to give students one central location to look for events on campus.”

Galando said, although she has not tweeted much, she believes the UPJ Today account could be valuable to students if given more time.

“Because it is so new, I don’t believe it has had the time to be useful,” she said. “But, if it is used properly, it could be (useful) in the future.”