Looking into the mystery behind Spotted at Laurier
The Spotted At Laurier Twitter account is perhaps the most influential social media account associated with Wilfrid Laurier University. It’s the place where the voice of the students can and has been heard for nearly a decade. Everything from funny observations, disgruntled callouts, romantic pursuits, general inquires and more are routinely featured on the account. It has consistently been the best place for students to have their voices heard. However, there has always been a mystery surrounding the account. Who is Spotted At Laurier? What are their intentions? How do they feel about the popularity their account has garnered? I reached out to Spotted At Laurier for an interview and while they declined a traditional interview, they were happy to answer questions in an email format. Here were the questions I asked, and the responses I received from Spotted At Laurier.
(SAL = Spotted At Laurier)
Q: Your account has been active since late 2013, do you know why the account started in the first place?
SAL: @SpottedLaurier was initially created to allow students to simply connect and send a message to someone they saw on campus. It quickly grew and evolved to a place where students could have their voice heard by not only fellow students but by staff and administration.
Q: Why do you choose to remain anonymous?
SAL: Anonymity is an important aspect of the account. When individuals send in a message to be posted, they expect that their submission will remain anonymous. We believe that not knowing who is on the receiving end of the message helps double-down on the sense of anonymity.
Q: Is there one person in charge of the account or is it run by a collective?
SAL: There is a single owner of the account. We have had a number of partners since 2013 that have lent a hand here and there when needed, but it is primarily a solo-effort.
Q: Is Spotted at Laurier passed down or has the same user been posting on it since 2013?
SAL: We have seen many other imposter accounts pop up over the years and have watched all of them fail quickly. Running an account like this isn’t for everyone, which is why we’ve never been able to pass it down and have continued to run it since 2013.
Q: Do you deny any requested tweets, if so why?
SAL: Yes, we do have to deny some requested Tweets. Every Tweet is reviewed to ensure it follows our internal guidelines. These guidelines ensure that we aren’t personally identifying someone in a hurtful way, posting inappropriate or threatening content, or posting “lost and found” messages. We also receive a lot of questions from students, so we will try to answer them directly rather than posting them. We also receive a high volume of messages, so not everything can be posted. With the large number of messages we receive, we try to avoid posting repetitive content.
Q: Over 25,000 followers, that is more than the estimated total student population currently attending Wilfred Laurier. What do you attribute the success of your account to?
SAL: We have remained dedicated to running the account since it started in 2013, which has played a big role in maintaining its success. However, the success is mainly due to the Laurier community continuing to use and trust the account. If a student has a question they need answered, they know they can use Spotted and get a credible, accurate response from staff, administration, or another student. This engagement and trust helps keep the account running.
Q: Is there any kind of statement trying to be made with your account (social, political, etc.).
SAL: No, our goal is to provide a resource that our followers can depend on to stay connected with the Laurier community.
Q: Is there anything you’d like the Laurier population to know about you or consider?
SAL: We’d just like to thank everyone who has followed the account, sent in a message, or engaged with a Tweet. We are very proud to have seen the account grow over the past nine years and to see the impact it’s been able to have.