With everyone spending more time at home, social media has become an important way to stay connected to family and friends. At MU, these online platforms have allowed students to talk to each other about issues involving the school's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since classes began, MU junior Connor Clary has taken to his TikTok account to share his feelings about MU's choice to stay open amidst the rising numbers of positive cases in Boone County.
RANKING THE ITEMS PROVIDED TO ME IN MY UNIVERSITY’S COVID CARE PACKAGE: thx ##mizzou! none of these are useful❤️❤️ go tigerz🐯♬ Bach Concerto in a Minor for Violin - Classical Music
Clary already had a following on his TikTok account, but he was surprised when his MU content reached actual MU students. "I had a lot of (MU students) suddenly reaching out to me that were really interested in sharing their experiences with me," he says.
After the first week of in-person classes, Clary posted an open letter addressing the university directly, asking why the campus was still open:
The next week, he posted another one:
AN OPEN LETTER TO MY UNIVERSITY THAT HAS BEEN OPEN FOR TWO WEEKS DURING A PANDEMIC: i guess ##mizzou is planning on infecting this entire city♬ Beach Bossa Jazz - Brazilian Bossa Background Vibes
“It feels like (the university is) trying to do the least that they can while still getting away with it," he says about MU's steps to minimize COVID-19 cases. "It feels like they’re trying to put the entirety of the responsibility on the students while assuming none of it themselves. It feels like they don’t really care, and they’re just waiting to be able to blame it on someone else if they do shut down.”
Not every account is for personal content. Many parody and commentary accounts exist on social media to anonymously critique institutions. One such account is the University of Misery. The account critiques MU's COVID-19 policies among other student concerns.
I am once again asking for one normal week at Mizzou— University of Misery (@UofMisery) October 2, 2020
"I created (the account) in Spring 2019," says the creator of the account, who prefers to stay anonymous. "I originally wanted to start a podcast, and I also just had a lot of funny tweets and ideas about Mizzou."
Once the pandemic hit, University of Misery pivoted away from comedy and more towards criticism with a comedic touch. “I shifted away from comedy (when the pandemic started)," the creator says. "I still watch how much of my own opinions I express to not alienate a bunch of (followers)."
What about the students who don’t know they need a test? Students that get lost in the contact tracing system, or have negligent roommates? Getting tested one time doesn’t reduce the total risk. MU needs testing that is frequent and accesible. https://t.co/3rxGFKXuie— University of Misery (@UofMisery) September 24, 2020
The account is expanding, the most recent addition being a YouTube account where the creator posts satirical videos.
“The goal is to branch out from tweets and make more funny content," the creator says. "It’s exciting to switch it up.” The "Chancellor's Address" video is currently the only video posted to the account, but University of Misery hopes to make more in the future.
When it comes to MU's COVID-19 regulations, the University of Misery creator feels similarly to Clary. “From the start, (the account) always had a tone of not exactly liking Mizzou, the name kind of implies that," the creator says. "A lot of (the content) was like smaller complaints. The reason the complaints seem bigger is because Mizzou has really let us down in much bigger ways. (The content) evolved into bigger critiques about Mizzou.”