Harvard Gets Lesson about Power of Word of Mouth. . . From Itself

Two Harvard Crimson writers learned a harsh lesson about word of mouth this week — namely that a good story spreads like wildfire. Faster, maybe, in this case.  Alexander J. Ratner and Lillian Yu probably thought they were writing a throw-a-way article when they detailed their recent social field trip to Tufts. It would be a funny, satirical piece about Tufts Barbarians that the Cambridge community would enjoy for a brief period and, then, forget about pleasantly.

Instead, the article detailing Harvard’s crude superiority complex caused a gossip storm that elevated to Gawker levels.

Basically, the authors write about feeling bored at Harvard and wanting to find their ‘true love’ i.e. some fast action at Tufts.  As a Tufts Alum, I could say that their entire premise is bunk, but I’ll refrain as there’s better lessons to be learned here — like that the internet is not a private joke board. People read it — ALOT. And, get steamed about paragraphs like this:

Tufts at first seemed like a perfect fantasy option, ripe with potential and waiting to spring to life. We had a friend who knew about a party—a big one, with frat-ish people doing keg stands all over the place, and thousands of girls just waiting to slay themselves at our feet the moment they first got a peek at our Harvard gear. After all, isn’t this exactly what happened in high school?  But we would brush away the siren fingers that playfully traced out the H’s on our jackets, knowing that on Valentine’s night, we would accept nothing less than true love.

So, while I’m even more perplexed at the authors’ premise of finding a happening party on Valentines Day(a SUNDAY) — I’m even more confused by how they could envision writing this for the real Harvard Newspaper(not their satirical Harvard Lampoon) and not getting lambasted. Publicly.  Not surprisingly,  the article has gotten 74 comments since it was published on Thursday and I’ve had 3 different alums talk to me about it.

Gone are the days of inside online jokes, ya’ll. If you post it, it’s going to get read and passed around. So, don’t be a jerk. Or, you’ll get comments like this:

This amateurish, self-congratulatory crap is what passes for journalism over at Harvard? How embarrassing. Find something better to do with your time than overpay to take ill-advised, poorly planned trips to other schools so you can pretend to know everything about their social scenes after 2 hours of going to the wrong places just so you can compare Harvard favorably to them. Pathetic
— Paul
Or, even this:

A Harvard alum wishes to apologize on behalf of the writers. We’re not all like them. This was painful, sorry to all who chose to read this.

ALA



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