Twitter

Photo Credit: Melanie Westfall | Daily Texan Staff

About 40 students searched campus Thursday morning hoping to find a golden egg and win a semester’s worth of free textbooks in the process, but were misled by the presence of “fake” eggs that weren’t part of the official hunt.

As part of an egg hunt organized by the University Co-op, students followed clues posted by Co-op officials on Twitter and Snapchat to search for three eggs hidden on campus. The winner was promised free textbooks for a semester, and the two runner-ups would receive $100 Co-op gift cards, said William Kelleher, promotions manager at the Co-op.

Before the hunt began, someone placed “fake” eggs, not sponsored by the Co-op, around campus, leading several students to believe they had won the free textbooks.

“Some students have too much time on their hands,” Kelleher said. “[I’m] bummed someone did it, but that stuff happens. I felt bad for the students that found [the fake eggs] — it put them on an emotional roller coaster.” 

He said he doesn’t know who planted the fake eggs.

The Co-op put on the hunt to increase its social media presence, according to Kelleher. This is the first time the Co-op has used Snapchat in an event to attract students.

Biology freshman Brodi Amos, who found one of the fake eggs near Littlefield Fountain, said the hunt was frustrating because he thought he had won free textbooks for a semester, which he said would have lifted a major financial burden.

“It definitely bothered me that someone had hidden fake golden eggs on the campus,” Amos said. “Once I had found the fake golden egg, I immediately stopped looking and checking Twitter for updates to its location, which is probably exactly what the person who hid them was hoping for.”

Zach Perlman, physical culture and sports sophomore, found one of the eggs containing a gift card. He said because many students came close to finding the same egg, he had to answer a trivia question correctly in order to win the egg officially.

“It was funny because when asked [the trivia question], every person around pulled out their phones and tried to figure out the answer, including me,” Perlman said. “I just got lucky and was able to figure it out first.”

The Co-op gave free T-shirts to students who found the fraudulent eggs and believed they had won free textbooks, Kelleher said.

Texas forward Myles Turner announced Monday that he will declare for the 2015 NBA draft. Turner averaged 10.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 22.2 minutes per game during his freshman year at Texas.
Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Texas freshman forward Myles Turner announced early Monday through Twitter and a YouTube video that he will be entering his name in the 2015 NBA Draft.

“My name is Myles Turner, UT alum, and I’ve decided to forgo my education and enter my name into the 2015 NBA draft,” Turner said in the video.

Turner, who was as a one-and-done candidate as soon as he put on his burnt orange bucket hat and committed to the University of Texas last spring, is a projected lottery pick.

“It’s really hard to say goodbye, but this is a decision I had to make,” Turner said. “I will forever be indebted to the Longhorns fans and the University of Texas.”

Turner, who came to Texas as a five-star prospect, never quite lived up to the expectations placed on him so early in his career, despite earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year and finding a spot on the All-Big 12 third team.

He averaged 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in just 22.2 minutes per game, with most of his big games coming against weaker competition, such as St. Francis and Lipscomb, in which he scored 25 and 26, respectively.

Turner led the Big 12 in blocks, and he was consistent throughout the season with his quick, face-up, high-release jumper from the post.  

“I love the University, love the atmosphere here,” Turner said in the video. “Great education, great people, great basketball program and facilities — given everything I need to succeed.”

Turner turned 19 years old last week after playing the full season at age 18. His announcement came a day after head coach Rick Barnes officially left the program after 17 years.

Edwin Qian, managing information systems and economics senior, left, biology junior Ellen Cocanougher and accounting junior William Herbst are the founding members of the University’s chapter of Not On My Campus.
Photo Credit: Graeme Hamilton | Daily Texan Staff

Over the course of the last week, Not On My Campus, a student-led sexual assault prevention movement, garnered national attention and earned 1,400 signatures on a petition to stop sexual violence on UT’s campus. 

The social media movement, adapted from a program that originated at SMU, is dedicated to starting conversations about sexual violence. Three UT students — Edwin Qian, managing information systems and economics senior, biology junior Ellen Cocanougher and accounting junior William Herbst — launched the local campaign in advance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which begins Wednesday. 

The campaign quickly gained momentum, as participants wrote “Not On My Campus” on their palms and posted photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Sexual assault is a prevalent issue on college campuses across the country, and the full scope of the problem at any given university is often hard to determine, according to Erin Burrows, interpersonal violence prevention specialist for Voices Against Violence. 

According to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, 80 percent of Texans who are raped never report the incident to law enforcement. Many national studies have found that nearly one in five college women are sexually assaulted over the course of their college experience, according to a report released by the organization. 

Not On My Campus UT launched an online pledge asking signers to support and empower assault survivors, work with campus resources to promote safety and engage in practices of bystander intervention. Qian said signing the pledge amounts to a public declaration to stand up against sexual assault, which he hopes is the first step in putting sexual violence prevention into practice. 

The movement has not been limited to students — President William Powers Jr. and former football head coach Mack Brown both participated in the social media campaign last week. Members of Not On My Campus said they hope support from alumni and faculty will help their message trickle down to the entire community. UT spokesman Gary Susswein said the campaign helps promote a no-nonsense attitude toward sexual assault prevention on campus. 

“By participating in the #NotOnMyCampusUT campaign, [Powers] is trying to help our students spread that message,” Susswein said. “He is so proud of the stances that our students have taken.”  

In addition to a social media campaign, the group members plan to establish a campus organization and expand outreach through various prevention programs. 

“We don’t just want to be an initiative,” Herbst said. “We also want to be a continuous, strong organization here on campus and be an intermediary source between the student body and the administration.” 

The group plans to conduct bystander-intervention training, hold self-defense classes and work with incoming freshmen to provide survivors with the help and support they need. 

“We know a lot of freshmen are terrified when they come in and experience this type of culture for the first time,” Cocanougher said. “We want to be able to bring awareness about it and educate people about the resources on campus.” 

Burrows, who has advised Not On My Campus since the fall, said reaching over 50,000 students with any campaign is challenging and social media can be an effective way to spread the simple message of consent. 

Burrows said she is glad fraternity and sorority leaders are making a vocal stand about sexual assault on college campuses. According to a 2013 study conducted by researchers at Oklahoma State University, men in fraternities are more likely to perpetrate sexual assault, while women in sororities are more likely to be assault survivors.

“When people are talking about the issue of sexual assault, they talk about the prevalence rates in Greek community, and that is true,” Burrows said. “But it’s not a problem specific to Greek community — it’s a problem in all communities.” 

Since the launch of the campaign on March 23, campus leaders from St. Edwards and University of North Texas have contacted the group seeking advice on how to establish Not On My Campus initiatives at their schools. 

“By bringing it here, it’s going to be the kick-starter that spreads it across campuses,” Herbst said. “If we have a successful program here, it’s going to spread across to other schools.”

Interested in how you can prevent sexual assault on campus? Full event listings for Sexual Violence Prevention Month at UT can be found here.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race over Twitter on Sunday and in a speech at Liberty University in Virginia on Monday.

Cruz is the first major candidate to announce his candidacy. Since he represents the second most-populated state in the country, Texas, Cruz is a major candidate in the current Republican race, according to government professor Sean Theriault.

“Dr. [Ben] Carson has never won an election in his life,” Theriault said, referencing another potential candidate for the Republican primary. “That doesn’t mean that he has no chance, just that he’s never demonstrated that he knows how to put a winning campaign together. Senator Cruz knows how to do that.”

Such an early announcement gives Cruz a short-term advantage, Theriault said. University Democrats president Michelle Willoughby disagreed.

“Announcing early officially isn’t an advantage,” Willoughby said. “What matters more is starting early in the early states like New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, and, in that game, Cruz is significantly later than several other [Republican] contenders who have been spending a lot of time in the early states.”

Cruz, a Texas junior senator, has been under some scrutiny regarding his eligibility to run for and/or serve as president. Cruz was born in Canada, but his mother, who is from Delaware, is a natural-born citizen. 

Cruz formally renounced his Canadian citizenship last May and claims he is natural-born through his mother.

Theriault said people questioning Cruz’s citizenship have no grounds for their worries.

“These questions about citizenship are ridiculous — not quite as ridiculous as the questions about Obama’s citizenship, but close,” Theriault said. “His mother is a naturalized citizen.”

Bridget Guien, College Republicans communications director, agreed with Theriault.

“Senator Cruz’s birthplace should not affect his eligibility to run for president,” Guien said. “He is a natural-born citizen and holds the right to run for the presidency.”

Cruz is serving his first term in the U.S. Senate. He defeated then-Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in the 2012 election by a 14-point margin. 

Theriault said Cruz’s limited time in federal government might not affect his abilities to serve, citing President Barack Obama’s victory after one term in the Senate.

“Ask Barack Obama the same question,” Theriault said. “He was first elected to the Senate in 2004 and, four years later, became president. Cruz would follow the same path.”

Willoughby said Cruz’s political résumé concerns her, calling him the “most extreme candidate considering running.”

“He isn’t polling well, he has alienated many in the GOP leadership and the general Republican voters with his grandstanding, and he is likely to have issues even with the groups that supported him in his campaign for Senator with a more crowded field,” Willoughby said. “These factors mean Cruz winning the primary is pretty unlikely.”

Theriault has more faith in Cruz’s abilities to persevere in the presidential race.

“For the Republicans in 2016, it all comes down to how the other candidates collapse,” Theriault said. “If the hard-right candidates fall like flies, and Cruz wins Iowa, he could have some longevity, especially if Bush has some competition from the ‘establishment’ wing of his party.”

The College Republicans do not officially endorse anybody in the primaries because the group is an auxiliary of the Republican Party.

Photo Credit: Hanna Bernbaum | Daily Texan Staff

There’s no need to constantly open up Google and  search “SXSW 2015 set list.” With Twitter readily available on your smartphone, you have no need to feel dazed and confused about who’s performing when you arrive at the music festival scene. Here are 10 must-follow Twitter accounts for any South By Southwest attendee. 

The Daily Texan | @thedailytexan

If you’re not already following The Daily Texan on Twitter, shame on you. If you still haven’t followed our account after reading this, shame on me.

With more than 37,000 followers, @thedailytexan is home base for campus news and entertainment. Campus dies down during spring break, but this account never sleeps. Expect constant SXSW updates and fresh news content streaming down your newsfeed all week. 

SXSW | @sxsw

The most obvious choice is the official Twitter of SXSW. Follow @sxsw for news about conferences and behind the scenes action. If you don’t feel like following the Twitter account, #SXSW will give you all the most recent details about parties and juicy rumors. 

IFC at SXSW | @IFCsxsw

The IFC Fairgrounds is not just the prime locale for entertainment, it also has a Twitter page with more than 7,000 followers. The reason behind its Twitter fan base? Exclusive details on interviews, music showcases and giveaways.

unofficialsxsw | @unofficialsxsw

Don’t have a music wristband or an all-access platinum badge? Unofficialsxsw is the source for free events and late-night secret shows. If you’re hyper-conscious of your follower-following ratio, you can get all of unnoficialsxsw’s updates by searching #SXSW.

Willie Nelson | @willienelson

It’s apparent that the iconic country-folk singer isn’t handling his own account, but the tweets are still hilarious. Not a #ManCrushMonday goes by without a photo post of a squinty-eyed, jovial-looking Nelson. Nelson, Austin’s leading legalization advocate, will host his fourth annual Heartbreaker Banquet. Look forward to the occasional allusion to drugs and the promotion of Willie merch.

Cameron @ SW | @CameronAtSX

Looking for a more personal touch? Cameron, a Dallas resident bitten by the SXSW bug, is a great resource for all the parties hidden beneath the smoky atmosphere. His updates include great “how-to” tips, daily reminders and local businesses’ offers.

Jacob Stetson | @JacobStetson

Who better to learn all things SXSW than from an Austinite? Stetson is a SXSW savant/freak. He will fill your Twitter timeline with the “who’s who” of SXSW and help you survive the hordes of music lovers.

food trailers austin | @FoodTrailersATX

Forgot your trail mix at home? Food trailers Austin will guide you through Austin’s food-truck scene and help you find the nearest barbecue-sauce smothered brisket and seasoned corn on the cob. Cheap food, short lines and big serving sizes — three things we can all agree are classic SXSW comforts. 

BrooklynVegan @ SXSW | @bvSXSW

Brooklyn Vegan has the SXSW hook-up, including prizes, hotel rooms and parties. Seriously. The account’s team concentrates on all the perks this musical holiday has to offer.

Do512 | @Do512

Do512 is the powerhouse of SXSW knowledge. Updating about every 20 minutes, the account always delivers. Heard that Hozier is making a surprise appearance? This Twitter distinguishes SXSW truths from rumors. Let Do512 lead you in the right direction so that you can stay involved. 

Photo Credit: Victoria Smith | Daily Texan Staff

South By Southwest is unlike any other festival. It requires a different mindset and level of physical stamina than is necessary for quaint three-day, noon-to-midnight festivals.

It is a grueling week of chaos that runs nonstop, from 5 a.m. live radio shows to 2 a.m. sets on Sixth Street. It is simultaneously sprawling, crowded and intensely personal. 

Feeling intimidated? Don’t be. Below, we’ve provided some tips for SXSW rookies  so you can learn to cope with the chaos, get the most out of your week and generally have the SXSW experience of a lifetime.

1. Make a plan, but don’t get too attached to it.

 Being flexible is by far the most important tip for SXSW rookies. Nothing is ever set in stone at SXSW. Just because a band is on the official roster, it does not mean their shows will be open for you to attend. Many shows are badge-holders only, 21+ or scheduled at ridiculous times. Bands cancel, venues reach capacity and shows often run behind schedule. Therefore, the right attitude is critical. The easiest way to avoid schedule-change heartbreak is to approach SXSW with a flexible mindset and a plan you are ready to adapt.

2. Skip big-name bands. 

Those down-several-blocks lines are rarely worth it — especially when the concert venues don’t even guarantee entry. Don’t waste your time waiting in line for three hours for a band you’ll have the chance to see again. Your time will be much better spent discovering new music, elsewhere.

3. Double check to find out if events are 21+. 

If you are underage, SXSW can be a tricky maneuver to pull off. A lot of events won’t explicitly state 21+ on the online invitation and still enforce age restrictions at the door. A good rule of thumb is that any show inside an actual bar — regardless of the time of day — will likely be age-restricted. Sorry, younger friends.

4. Use Twitter. Use Twitter. Use Twitter.

If you don’t have a Twitter, get one for the week — we promise not to make fun of your egg profile picture. Follow venue accounts, friends at the festival, official SXSW profiles and all of the various Twitter profiles that aggregate events and tweet info throughout the week, including rumors about secret shows. Follow your favorite bands and speakers to stay informed about last-minute schedule changes, or, again, potential secret shows. Did we mention the secret shows?

5. Bring a phone charger.

If you are following the previous tip, expect your phone to die before the night ends — all that tweeting will drain a battery mercilessly. Pack a charger in your bag, and plug it in any time you’re waiting at a venue or
a restaurant.

6. Arrive to everything earlier than you think you should.

There is always a bigger fan than you — and usually, there are several. Lines are inevitable, so arrive early to ensure entry. Being fashionably late is neither fashionable nor possible if you plan on actually listening to music at SXSW.

7. Put comfort before style when choosing your outfit.

SXSW isn’t Coachella. Dressing fashionably is difficult in a city where the weather fluctuates from hour to hour so come armed with a jacket for cold venues and shoes that can deal with the miles you’ll walk scouring the city and standing in lines. There’s no sitting at SXSW.

8. Know that Uber and Lyft prices will be high.

Even including the inflated rates you’ll see as a result of an increase in demand, you can expect traffic to further prolong any ride you take, further driving up costs. The same supply-demand equation applies for taxis and pedicabs. Stick to walking or biking rather than relying on expensive ride-hailing companies or inconsistent public transportation. 

9. Resist all urges to accept free stuff.

Unless you are going to eat it, free stuff is not worth carrying around all day as you traverse the city. The lighter your backpack, the better. You really don’t need six different promotional koozies. You just don’t.

10. If all else fails, end the night at Auditorium Shores with a huge free show.

 The music at Auditorium Shores is guaranteed to be good, and everyone is guaranteed entry. Shows run Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Shows typically start in the early evening and end at 10 p.m. Attendees can opt to stand in front of the stage with the eager, youthful crowd, or relax on a towel in the back. In a festival where schedules can change at a minute’s notice, it’s nice to know there’s always at least one place you can end up.

From left, UT students Julia Waicberg, Kyla Harrison, Katherine Allen and Hannah Kelly are collaborating to promote and expand the music app JamFeed. The app streamlines music-related news into one easy-to-use platform.
Photo Credit: Charlotte Carpenter | Daily Texan Staff

Your favorite artist tweets a little tidbit about a highly anticipated album or single. Your heart starts beating rapidly as you scramble to find any information about this potentially life-changing musical masterpiece. All of a sudden, your newsfeed swallows up the precious tweet, never to be seen again. 

That’s where JamFeed comes in. JamFeed is a 6-month-old free music app created by two brothers, Cameron and Tyler Gibson. With the help of UT students, the Gibsons developed the app, which places all music-related news onto one convenient platform.

JamFeed operates much like Team Stream, an app that notifies its users about the current status of their favorite sports teams. In JamFeed’s case, the app notifies users about album releases, concerts, tour dates and events. 

The Gibson brothers created the app when they realized how cumbersome it was to find current information about artists or bands they listened to. Updates on newly released singles or last-minute concerts were quickly lost in their Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds, making it difficult to keep up with the latest music news. 

The app has nearly 3,000 users and is the official app for Euphoria Music and Camping Festival, an annual, outdoor alternative music festival, which is taking place April 10-12 in Austin. The Gibsons’ main objective is to gain exposure and users  for JamFeed in the next few years and partner with local bands to promote the Austin music scene. 

Julia Waicberg, advertising sophomore and JamFeed social media intern, said she’s excited to see JamFeed gain traction at Euphoria and finds volunteering for JamFeed worthwhile.

“It’s not a paid internship, but it’s so rewarding still,” Waicberg said. “Each good thing that happens is because we put in the effort. Katherine Allen, mechanical engineering and Plan II freshman and the JamFeed Kickstarter campaign coordinator, said she hopes to reach potential users during promotional events at SXSW.

“For SXSW, we’re having a party that will host some local bands,” Allen said. “We’ll be in JamFeed shirts passing out JamFeed stickers. Hopefully we can get a few artists signed on.”

Aside from aggregating music news and notifying users of upcoming tours and events, JamFeed shares original content, such as artist profiles and Q-and-A’s, with its users. Bands that partner with JamFeed will share exclusive content about secret shows or new music.

Hannah Kelly, journalism and Plan II freshman and JamFeed’s content writer, said the app fills a void that Facebook and Twitter aren’t equipped to fill.

“With Twitter, it’s just really convoluted,” Kelly said. “You’re following so many things, and it’s hard to actually see what you want, and then on Facebook, it’s really expensive for artists to get all of their news out to their users.”

Allen said she views JamFeed as a gateway of opportunity into the technology startup industry. She said organizations such as the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency, which introduced her to JamFeed, give students a chance to explore innovative business ventures that otherwise wouldn’t have been as accessible. 

“It’s an amazing learning opportunity,” Allen said. “You’re not stuck in a cubicle. You’re not running getting donuts. You’re really making a difference, and you know if you weren’t there, then this thing wouldn’t be running.”

OU fraternity members appear to sing racist chant, reference lynching in viral video

In a video that went viral Sunday evening, members of the University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity were caught on camera chanting anti-black racial slurs.

In the 10-second video, members are seen and heard singing “There will never be a n****r SAE,” and “You can hang them from a tree, but they'll never sign with me.”

Within hours of the video surfacing, the fraternity’s national organization closed the chapter and suspended all members, according to a press release from Brandon Weghorst, associate executive director of communication for SAE.

“Those members who are responsible for the incident may have their membership privileges revoked permanently,” Weghorst said.

Brad Cohen, the fraternity’s national president, condemned the video on Twitter.

“I know I speak for all when I say I’m disgusted and shocked by the video involving our [SAE] chapter at Uof OK,” he wrote. “They will be dealt with.”

University officials said they are investigating the video to verify that OU students are involved, according to University president David Boren.

“If OU students are involved, this behavior will not be tolerated and will be addressed very quickly,” Boren said in a statement. “This behavior is contrary to all of our values.”

The OU chapter of SAE is one of many fraternities that have been accused of racial insensitivity. Last month, Texas Fiji hosted a party guests said had a “border patrol” theme, where attendees wore construction gear, ponchos and sombreros. The Office of the Dean of Students launched an investigation into the event but found the party did not violate any University rules and would not result in any penalty for the fraternity, primarily because the party was held off campus. 

Last year, SAE chapters nation-wide announced they would eliminate pledging entirely. The national fraternity replaced pledgeship with a program called the "True Gentlemen Experience" with the goal of improving the educational and leadership experience of its members. Read more about the switch here.

The video of SAE members chanting is below. Warning: The clip contains graphic language and racial slurs.

For updates on this story, go to oudaily.com or follow The Oklahoma Daily on Twitter.

Have a news tip for The Daily Texan? Email us at news@dailytexanonline.com.

Photo Credit: Melanie Westfall | Daily Texan Staff

Birthday shoutout posts and “Throwback Thursday” pictures often clutter social media newsfeeds. Separate yourself from the monotony with high-quality pictures of Austin landmarks and event updates. Social media is a convenient way to stay in the know about quirky and inexpensive opportunities that commonly pop up in the Austin area.  

Restaurants, stores and companies have created Instagram and Twitter accounts to advertise special deals and events. While an abundance of these Austin-esque accounts continue to form on social media, here are The Daily Texan’s top five Twitter and Instagram handles to follow for becoming a social-media-savvy Austinite. 

365 Things Austin (@365ThingsAustin) 

An extension of the 365 Things Austin blog, this account is a Twitter and Instagram staple. The account captures Austin’s spirit by posting pictures of the city, food and events from around town. Committed to posting daily, 365 Things Austin often features an appetizing meal from different restaurants, such Chi’Lantro BBQ and Pinthouse Pizza. High-quality photos of the Frost Bank, the Capitol and other Austin landmarks also fill the accounts. When events such as Austin City Limits Music Festival and South By Southwest come around, you can expect plenty of event photos and information.

Twitter

Instagram

Austin Texas (@VisitAustinTX) 

This account keeps followers informed about goings-on around town. The Twitter account posts links to ticket information for upcoming concerts and festivals. The Instagram supplement scouts out random, interesting places in Austin, such as the Living Room at W Hotel and the “Night Wing” bat sculpture. 

The account managers often accept and post photos from random people in the city that capture the Austin experience.

Twitter

Instagram

Austin On Budget (@AustinOnBudget) 

This account does exactly as what the name implies: finds deals in Austin. Austin On Budget posts about discounts on food and drink at restaurants such as Kerbey Lane Cafe and Taco Deli. Its motto — “everything tastes better when it’s a deal.” 

It also posts contest information, so followers can retweet posts to enter to win gift cards to different restaurants in Austin. 

Twitter

Instagram

ACLFestival (@aclfestival) 

Even though ACL is an annual event, the festival releases updates throughout the year. In addition to posting ACL news, the account also posts throwback photos to past performances, so followers can reminisce on Kanye West’s 2011 performance. During the festival, the account also features different food available and photographs of some ACL-goers dressed in festival garb. 

Twitter

Instagram

The Daily Texan (@thedailytexan)

This article would not be complete without mentioning our very own Twitter account. The Daily Texan Twitter is regularly updated with the day’s content and is an easy way to stay updated on what’s happening around campus. We’re more reliable than Yik Yak.

The Instagram counterpart gives followers a look at the best art from the day’s paper, occasionally including unpublished content.

Twitter

Instagram

Management information systems sophomore Andrew Watts wrote a blog that has gained national attention in recent months. The blog, titled, “A Teenager’s View on Social Media,” is different from other blogs about a teen’s view because it was actually written by a teenager.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Ever since his mom let him get a Facebook his freshman year of high school, management information systems sophomore Andrew Watts has been addicted to trying out new social media platforms. He swipes open his phone to check Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Cyber Dust and Yik Yak notifications all throughout the day. Unlike the millions of teenagers who tweet and post every day, Watts' experience recently earned him national attention.

Watts posted a story called “A Teenager’s View on Social Media” in January on the blog-publishing platform Medium. He discussed his opinions on social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yik Yak, Snapchat and Tumblr. Watts wrote the post after reading numerous technology articles attempting to describe teenage social media habits — none of which were actually written by teenagers.

“I was trying to distinguish in my article that this is a teenager’s point of view written by a teenager,” Watts said. “This isn’t a teenager’s point of view written by somebody that’s 40.”

The post went viral. In one day, the page views jumped from 2,000 to 120,000. The page now has 830,000 views. 

“My phone was constantly buzzing with tweets about it, and I could tell this was becoming something,” Watts said. 

Less than two weeks after posting the blog, the news site TechCrunch flew Watts out to San Francisco for an interview. While in California, he toured Medium’s offices. Louis Gray, a tech blogger and Google analytics advocate, also drove out to meet Watts for lunch in San Francisco, where the two
discussed technology.

“It’s been mind-boggling,” Watts said. “Seeing people in the technology community who I really respect comment on something I wrote and have people follow me on Twitter that I have been following for years is insane.”

The post received mainly positive reviews at first. Watts said he thinks people read his piece because it describes social media in a simple way. For example, the post calls Facebook “dead” like an “awkward family dinner party.”

Business sophomore Anthony Garibay, who uses apps such as Instagram, Twitter and Cyber Dust, said he thinks Watts’ analysis was accurate.

“Honestly, I believe that a lot of people in our age group have the same views,” Garibay said. “The article became popular because it’s the first time someone really was honest about what a lot of people our age think about these networks.” 

Tiffany Zhong, business developer and marketer for Product Hunt — a website where people can post and rank products and apps — read the blog before it went viral. 

“Andrew’s writing is fantastic,” Zhong said. “It grew in popularity because there haven’t really been any recent pieces written by teens diving into a deep analysis on current social media.”

The blog also attracted its share of criticisms. People argued that Watts’ age, 19, made him too old to accurately give a teenager’s perspective. They also claimed that Watts’ views do not apply to all teenagers and should not have gained so much popularity. 

“They thought I was speaking for everyone, but I wasn’t,” Watts said. “These were just my own opinions.”

Watts still continues to share his opinions on the blog. He recently wrote a post encouraging other teens to showcase their thoughts through blogging. He said people in the teenage bracket are often told their thoughts are not valid, but the reaction to his post certainly proves otherwise.

“I think we’re in a really prime data set that companies try to go after,” Watts said. “I think people should capitalize on that and create content that expresses what they’re experiencing at this time – whether it’s technology or not.”