BU Dining is notorious for its Twitter presence and has been commended by social media gurus all around. With witty banter, terribly lame hash-tags, and a constant flow of free meals, BU Dining Services seems to not let a single tweet slip by. Some students revel in it, sending praises, Instagrams, and witter banter right back at them. These are typically the same students who look forward all week to Make a Difference Monday, or, #MADM.
Another chunk of the student population, however, sneers at the so-called “suck-ups” and perky #foodpic Twitter users, boycotting the dining halls on Make a Difference Monday and being constantly on the lookout for ways to assert their disgust with the institution.
The latter group is what spawned @BU_Dining, the Twitter handle that shamelessly fools with innocent students who tweet to @BUDiningServices.
This act went on since April 5, but on April 15 the trickster got an email saying that he needed to “clearly display that [@BU_Dining is] a parody account,” meaning that the handle must include a word such as “not,” “fake,” or “fan” in username and description. “It takes away the surprise,” says the master mind, “We had had it in the description that it was a parody. It tricked you at first, but once you looked closely you would have to say ‘wait a second.’” Apparently, this wasn’t good enough. @BU_Dining was forced to change to @Not_BUDining.
The Quad scored an interview with the mastermind behind this project, a handsome BU student who wishes to remain anonymous.
When asked why he chose to start on this campaign against BU’s services, he said: “@BU_Dining was born out of my utter disgust for the dining hall menu. Many times I feel like showing the person who just served me my plate and saying ‘would you serve your mother this.’ Any civilized person with any shred of humanity would say no.”
While this is quite an extreme take, there is no arguing that many students are unhappy with the dining hall’s choices. With complaints such as:
We’ll let them know, thanks and sorry. MT @fearthefall : No more milk in 100. Looked for a manager but couldn’t find one.
— BU Dining Services (@BUDiningService) April 17, 2013
Students are making a stand against empty milk containers, not smooth smoothies, bad tofu noodle bowls, and having to use their legs to walk up stairs. “Also, I wanted to create this account because the BU Dining Services’ actual account teeters on absurdity on a daily basis. A lot of times it’s hard to come up with tweets because the actual account could easily be confused for a parody,” the parody creator notes. Here’s his version of BU Dining responses:
What’s the difference? Well, @Not_BUDining doesn’t seem to be solving any problems here, just making bad puns and even worse hashtags. So, how does he do it? How does he manage to infiltrate the system and fool so many innocent tweeters? He says: “Using Tweetdeck, I search ‘BUdiningservice’ and that gives me every tweet that’s sent to the real account, and I try to answer them before BU Dining does. The actual BU dining has blocked me, yet they still favorite some of my tweets. I like to say we have a love/hate relationship. I hate them.” As we continue to talk, ironically in the Warren Towers Dining Hall, he gives a painful grimace to what remains of the chicken fajita. So, I ask, what’s your beef with BU Dining? “The food, the service, and mostly just the Twitter itself,” he lists. Referring to the notorious Thanksgiving “turkey in distress” tweets, he claims “That was the moment when I said BU Dining has gone insane.” “I think what tricked people is that the original account is so absurd,” he confessed. While the BU Dining Twitter account is quite over-the-top, the speed of reply is simply impressive. I mean, come on, how many universities give their students this kind of service?
Where are you sitting? John the manager wants to chat about the eggs, ok? MT @hot0rod CHANGE THEEEEE EGGGGGGGGGGG SETUPPPPPPPPPPPPPP
— BU Dining Services (@BUDiningService) April 11, 2013
The account is, in one respect, a replacement for those old-school complaint cards seen around the old dining halls, which workers would pick and chose certain ones to put up on a bulletin board for students to see. Now, student complaints are out there for the world to see. Using @Not_BUDining’s method, one can do a simple search on Twitter and check out all the gripes and mishaps going on in the dining halls around campus. Dining services must constantly have a guard up.
With virtually instantaneous responses and hands-on managers, this is an excellent way for the student body to interact directly with members of the administration, an opportunity to get past the red tape that doesn’t happen often. That being said, tweeting to @BUDiningService most likely won’t make a monumental change in the system, but it will at the very least get the issue heard, and likely get you a free meal!
“The account is never supposed to be antagonizing or bulling anyone, it’s only about the humor. The tweets that we make fun of are usually legit concerns,” he adds. In the end, it’s all in good fun. After all, someone had to call them out on Humpty Dumpty egg reference.