Tweet a little stream of me

Gavin Gaddis

Quick, list every panel, activity and event that’s happening on campus this week.

If you’re not part of the Activities Programming Board (APB), Student Government Association (SGA) or with The Shield, I feel it’s safe to assume you’re missing at least one planned activity.

Just one might not seem like much at first glance, but I’ve had enough. Missing out on one too many Mario Kart tournaments, hiking trips and laser tag takeovers has made this grumpy commuter a tad frustrated.

Every day I see a new Twitter account for an incredibly focused part of campus created before quickly slipping into obscurity. It won’t be long before @UCEastFireplace starts giving live temperature updates.

Harnessing social networks to one’s advantage is a step in the right direction, but the fractal nature of these accounts still embraces a divide between each club or organization.

Rarely does one broadcast the activities of another. Looking at my own Twitter account, I count nine USI-related accounts that rarely tweet about themselves, let alone other events.

Every day I see bulletin boards hung in hallways absolutely slathered with posters – well-meaning fliers oozing bright colors and eye-catching buzzwords (the most common being “free,” “food” and “sex” in descending popularity) from every hard-fought square inch.

Each individual advertisement works for each individual purpose, yet when one takes a step back, the ads blend together and are actively ignored by students with earbuds plugged in and stimuli tuned out.

The fractured campus situation isn’t helped when small errors undermine good ideas.

APB’s text notification system is brilliant until one realizes said texts are sent two hours before an event starts.

I drive 40 minutes to college every morning and am not wealthy enough to consider returning once I’ve left.

This problem is irritating, but my initial frustrations have been tempered with secondhand reports that APB will be making strides to improve notifications this semester.

One organization – or perhaps several in conjunction with each other – place a well-informed student in charge of a YouTube channel with the task of uploading a concise video update on all events happening in the coming week.

These could be shot on the fly by anybody with a smartphone – no need to dig out bootleg copies of Premier or channeling your inner John Green by spamming jump-cuts.

I’ll even provide a template for the first ten seconds, free of charge: “Hey guys, this week’s Cinema USI movie is ___. It’ll be sponsored by ____ at 9 p.m. Thursday in Forum 1.”

Videos take more effort than hashtags, but they have a more lasting impact if you find someone amiable enough to become the face of campus events.

Just one person could run this theoretical channel, or perhaps a more ambitious group of representatives from each major organization.

Imagine if this footage was broadcast on all of the monitors on campus once an hour, briefly interrupting the live feed of Wolf Blitzer silently judging you for ordering a four-pound burrito.

If those dozens of Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, Pintrest boards and countless other social media landing pages across campus shifted their followers toward this one central hub, it would create a place where all other clubs feed their advertisements without bias toward any particular club.

Suddenly, I have a direct link to campus events without having to know a certain person, or listen to The Edge at a specific time or constantly dream up new ways to search USI on Twitter and Facebook.

This central presence would create a noticeable increase in student attendance at on-campus events, as well as stronger support for student organizations.

Let’s convince students to come out and have some fun instead of sitting at home complaining on Yik-Yak.