In March of 2017, the Overheard Facebook group on the campus of the College of William and Mary was archived after conflict increasedbetween current students and alumni on the page.
While Overheard was a source of fun, lighthearted posts about anything overheard or “overseen” around campus, it also played an important role in student communication on campus. With the termination of the Overheard page, I believe there has been a drastic decrease in mass informal communication among students regarding campus activities, events, and news that is not covered by administration at the College.
I think that it is necessary for a new form of informal communication among students to emerge, preferably on Facebook, that has a large student following and is effective in quickly answering questions that fellow students have about certain a number of issues.
I believe there has been a drastic decrease in mass informal communication among students regarding campus activities, events, and news that is not covered by administration at the College.
There are many ways in which some form of informal communication still occurs on campus.
One of these is the Facebook group Swampy Memes for TWAMPy Teens. This is a very large group with over 5,000 members that can reach out to many students on campus. However, while this group includes memes that are relevant to campus, the purpose of it is not to share information or ask relevant questions, but just to post entertaining memes. This Facebook group is funny and entertaining, but does not fill the void left by Overheard.
There is also more formal communication between students through the Student Happenings weekly email. Students can submit information about events, clubs or job openings and have it included in the weekly email in order to get the information out to other students. However, this email is only sent weekly and does not give students a forum to ask questions or post about events at the last minute.
As soon as Overheard fell, some alternative pages were created, but none of these pages has nearly as large of a following as the original Overheard page or even Swampy Memes. These pages were made for the same purpose as Overheard.
However, because of the lower membership and much less frequent posting, people do not look at them as much. Because of this, they are not very effective in sharing information or answering fellow students’ questions.
The Facebook page closest to filling the void of Overheard in terms of informal communication is William AMAry. The capitalized “AMA” stands for “Ask Me Anything”. This is a page where students can post questions about big events on campus or what something on campus is or even smaller questions like, “What’s at Sadler tonight for dinner?” or, “Is Swem crowded?”
I think that this would be an effective platform for informal student communication, however the group only has 588 members. If this group was more well-known and included more people around campus I think that it would be good at partially filling the void left after the termination of the Overheard Page.
Whether it is achieved through the growth and popularization of the William AMAry page or the creation of a new page, I think that informal communication between students on campus is invaluable.
Not only does it help people to stay up to date on events happening on campus, but it can also be a resource for people to use when they have questions about campus or about a particular event. We must work to find a solution to the lack of informal communication after the termination of the Overheard page.
Email Kevin Richeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.