Even since pre-pandemic times, students at the University have been searching for and creating new ways to connect with one another. Enter salacious social media accounts like the facebook page Overheard at Rochester, which, in terms of journalistic integrity and accurate quoting, was highly questionable. Keeping up with the trend, @ur_confessions_secrets, is an instagram account where UR students can anonymously ask for help on homework, complain about the administration, and even answer polls about anal sex!
The wildly popular @ur_confessions_secrets (which has garnered over 2500 followers since it’s first confession post in December 2020) and @ur_loved585 (with over 1100 followers since November 2020) are consistently the talk of the collegiate town. Whisperings can also be heard through the halls of Rush Rhees about the less popular, but slightly more niche, @URVirgins, @URVirginsbutnotbychoice, @URTimbs, and @URchairs.
As an attention seeker who yearns for (at least campus-wide) fame, I have been interested in creating my own niche UR Instagram account for some time now. And with pandemic boredom bringing about more and more accounts, I figured it was now or never. Seeing as I’m not particularly interested in anything of substance, I landed on the bright idea of @URLamps, the new designated spot for all UR students’ lighting fixture content! To get ready for my new venture into this domain, and to prepare myself for the inevitable stardom that was to come, I decided that I needed to consult an expert.
I was lucky enough to (anonymously) interview the lovely admin of @ur_loved585, an account dedicated to spreading love and positivity via anonymous submission. They had much to say about their own success, as well as some commentary on why they think this trend has become so popular.
First, I wanted to know how this account got so successful. If I was going to achieve the kind of accolades and notoriety I was looking for, I needed some insight from the best. The admin of @ur_loved585 attributes their success to the account being “something that was long overdue!” Just like my lamp idea! They continued, “You have all these confession pages, but none of them specifically focus on having an outlet for your crushes or expressing appreciation for your loved ones. Also who doesn’t love secret admirer vibes?” I do love secret admirer vibes! Even more than I love lighting fixtures! Dammit, why didn’t I think of this idea before you, @ur_loved585!!!
While my reason for starting my account is sheer narcissism, @ur_loved585’s reason was slightly more wholesome, stating, “I believe that we don’t spend enough time to unapologetically and loudly appreciate our loved ones. It’s definitely one of the more ‘little things,’ but the impact is unfathomably large!”
If little things are what the people of Rochester are needing in these dark, dark times, then my lighting content would certainly get the job done, right?
Before venturing into the world of Instagram account management, I needed to learn what I was getting myself into. When I asked what the hardest part of running such an account was, @ur_loved585 mentioned “just keeping up with notes sometimes. I try to remind myself that it’s okay to pace myself and no one is mad at me for being inactive.” Seeing as I refuse to put maximum effort into anything, I knew that I would not experience similar struggles.
Having learned about the difficulties and inspiration behind their account, all that was left to ask @ur_loved585 was tips to ensure that I would become the most popular account on campus. They suggested that I “really pay attention to what people respond to and just interact with them as often as possible! A page is nothing without UR students. Always remember that whatever you’re doing should be geared towards the students… ALSO: No idea is too crazy. If you want to create an account for people to submit notes to their friends about how much they’ve pooped that day, do it.”
No idea is too crazy, says the anonymous, omniscient presence of ur_loved585? Well, we would see about that!
And so, @URLamps was born.
The concept? Simple.
I would accept submissions via direct message of any and all lighting fixtures from around campus and post them. While I started out beaming with confidence, I must admit that my lamp dreams were dimmed pretty quickly. Maybe I should have gone with the poop thing, because apparently, nobody cares about lamps.
My Lampstagram, a chronology:
My first step was to follow as many people from UR as possible and see how many followers I could get back. Day one went well on the follower-count front.
(Not to brag: 61 followers)
I posted my first “submission,” which consisted of a grainy photo of a street lamp outside of Todd Union that I took approximately three minutes after creating the account. I realize this may be cheating, but I figured that this was allowed for my initial submission (just to get the account started… to illuminate it, if you will).
I was already losing steam. Still no submissions. I had to bribe my roommate with Starbucks to send in a photo of the Blue Light outside of our building. I posted it, and received a real comment from a real UR student, who said “holy shit that light is stunning.”
It lit up my day.
I am a failure
My Great Big Lampstagram Experience was a total flop. I dropped the bulb, big time, and it shattered all over the ground. Maybe I didn’t put in enough effort, or maybe my dream of being in the limelight clouded my judgement, but either way, the content wasn’t doing it for the people of UR . My not-so-near brush with Instagram stardom left me feeling light-headed and disoriented, much like the overhead lighting in iZone (that was, sadly, not featured on the page).
Instagram may not end up being my claim to fame. But it’s fine, I guess I’ll just keep submitting wild accusations about myself on @ur_confessions_secrets!