Since its 2006 hatch, Twitter has emerged as a popular social networking site for users to track the activities of celebrities and share updates with 140 or fewer characters.
Many college students have joined the Twitter craze, writing about their daily occurrences, emotions and even college trepidation. Several UMKC organizations have a Twitter presence, including the Women’s Center, UMKC Athletics and the UMKC Libraries.
If you sift through UMKC organizations, it’s only a matter of time until “@UMKCProblems” surfaces. Mocking the popular Twitter accounts that tweet about “first world problems,” a.k.a. issues only spoiled Americans have the audacity to complain about (for instance, not being able to watch one’s favorite TV show in HD), @UMKCProblems cites everyday complaints about UMKC and the students on campus in a crass, no-holds-barred manner.
It’s no secret dealing with college is stressful. The mandatory strain of dealing with the Cashier’s Office or finding a place to park may be enough to generate an anxiety attack, but @UMKCProblems lists the Twitter user’s concerns as short complaints, which are often racially-offensive.
The Twitter began at the beginning of the spring 2012 semester, and for Twitter users who have a bone to pick with UMKC, @UMKCProblems’ milder posts may invoke a few chuckles or nods of agreement. One mild tweet boasts “#ThingsIveLearned The cashiers office screws almost everyone over. #umkcproblems.”
Other tweets list similarly familiar student grievances: “#ThingsIveLearned Blackboard always fails at the most inopportune times. #umkcproblems,” “High school quality cafeteria food #umkcproblem,” and “I wonder how many poor souls were deprived of parking permits this year…. #umkcproblem.”
Other tweets take the form of racially-charged attacks, one belittling the diversity of UMKC’s residence halls: “In the dorms, if your roommate isn’t brown, chances are your suitemates, other neighbors and/or fools down the hall are. #umkcproblems.”
Other comments also attacked the school’s diverse population, some insulting cultural traditions of international students.
However, the authors of such comments are unknown. The user remains anonymous by adopting the name of @UMKCProblems and never mentioning his or her name in the account’s tweets. This helps any UMKC student enjoy or abhor the content of the account without the culprit of the crass statements receiving any negative personal feedback.
Social networking sites such as Twitter can be liberating; it can become a device to vent or share your personal thoughts. I confess that oftentimes I may make abrasive comments and use offensive language, but never are they directly aimed at someone’s racial background. Racial attacks are incredibly tasteless.
Each UMKC student is awarded the same potential opportunities to tour campus. After touring, our diverse population becomes blatantly obvious. If racial diversity isn’t appealing, by no means is anyone forced to attend this university.
However, whatever this user posts on his or her Twitter technically can’t be reported as spam or flagged for content. @UMKCProblems is entitled to expressing whatever he or she desires, just like the rest of us with a Twitter account.
Regardless of how intolerant some of the comments are, I keep trying to remind myself that @UMKCProblems is likely just for entertainment purposes and not just a young adult seriously bigoted enough to degrade fellow students based solely off of race.
Even so, what does that say about us if these extremely rude comments can be considered as “entertainment?”