I wrote an article earlier this month (before leaving for a week-long vacation) about college students and recent alumni who have created Twitter accounts parodying their university presidents. For the most part, these fake accounts are used to transform suit-and-tie-wearing leaders into foul-mouthed partiers — but they also satirically comment on problems within the university.
Fake accounts have long been a part of Twitter’s insider culture, but the online sport really took off after several accounts went viral. During the BP oil spill off the Gulf Coast in 2010, @BPGlobalPR did public relations for the company by tweeting things like, ”The good news: Mermaids are real. The bad news: They are now extinct. #bpcares.” And last year many political junkies in Washington were obsessed with @MayorEmanuel, an account parodying former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Those famous impersonators inspired several local college students to apply the idea to campus leaders, including @fakeStevenKnapp at George Washington University, @FakeNeil_Kerwin at American University and @FakeWallaceLohat the University of Maryland.
There are dozens more fake president accounts out there. Let me introduce you to a few more:
One of the most famous accounts is @PrezHuddleston at University of New Hampshire, who parodies the real President Mark Huddleston. The student behind the account has promised to reveal himself or herself if the at least half of the Class of 2012 donates to the senior gift fund.
If you really want #UNH to be a top party school again, you probably shouldn't all go home for Easter.— Fake Mark Huddleston (@PrezHuddleston) April 8, 2012
When Graham Spanier was ousted from his presidency at Penn State in November, following the arrest of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and amid allegations that top leaders were negligent, the parody account @PSUGraham started looking for work as a magician. (The real Spanier is also a magician and often performed on campus.)
The fake Spanier has tweeted about betting his entire retirement fund on basketball, thanked Obama for extending unemployment compensation and tried to get his name on the wall of a bar, since he doesn’t think it will ever grace a university building.
This might be the weed talking, but let's just all calm down and give me back my job.Life was just better back then.— Magical Graham (@PSUGraham) March 25, 2012
At the University of Colorado, Boulder, @FakeBruceBenson impersonates the real President Bruce Benson and often tweets long speeches in 140-character snippets.
Perception: Salaries at CU are out of control, as evidenced by raises for "top administrators."— Fake Bruce Benson (@FakeBruceBenson) March 29, 2012
Reality: Don't hate the player, hate the game.— Fake Bruce Benson (@FakeBruceBenson) March 29, 2012
At Wake Forest University, President Nathan O. Hatch is parodied by @Natty_O_Hatch.
Parking officers have collected enough money with tickets to begin constructing our nicest residence hall thus far! #CaporalettiHall— Nathan O' Hatch (@Natty_O_Hatch) February 21, 2012
At Columbia University, President Lee Bollinger is impersonated by
FIRST RULE OF CU FIGHT CLUB IS "IT'S A COLUMBIA SPORTS TEAM, SO NO ONE'S GONNA TALK ABOUT CU FIGHT CLUB ANYWAY"— LEE_BOLLINGER (@LEE_BOLLINGER) March 29, 2012
And Florida State University President Eric J. Barron is mocked by @PrezBarron, who claims to be a meteorologist in addition to being president. The fake president often tweets about getting wasted and arrested with the fake athletic director.
Sadly, now Its time to head back to my ivory tower for another week of punching clock after a crazy (and mostly legal) weekend in Atlanta.— Fake Eric J. Barron (@PrezBarron) December 5, 2011
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