Eavesdropping hits the internet
The College’s clever students and energetic social scene have yielded an interesting result: a Facebook phenomenon that takes social life on the Hill and turns it into pure entertainment. “Overheard at Colby” is a Facebook page that features witty and outrageous commentary made by students on campus.
The Overheard at Colby page has existed on Facebook since early 2009. In order to post an entertaining tidbit on the page, a student must first friend request the associated account, which is named “Overheard at Colby.” Once the student’s request is approved, he or she may send a message to the account with the content of the conversation that he or she overheard, a short description of the speaker or speakers and the location in which that conversation took place. The moderator, whose identity is unknown, chooses the submissions that he or she deems worthy of publication and posts them on the companion page.
The online instructions state that the moderator retains the right to edit any submissions that violate the privacy of the speakers. Users can also submit entertaining text messages that they receive from students of the College; the moderator includes the the sender’s area code in the posting. New posts usually appear every week, and most are related to the events of the past weekend.
Once a submission is posted on the “Overheard at Colby” page, anyone who likes the page can “like” or comment on it. At the end of February, Overheard at Colby had 1096 Facebook fans and 236 friends. Submissions to “Overheard at Colby” typically fall into one of several popular categories. Some like the following post from February 19, are pop culture references: “In Foss, one girl says to another, “You’re like the ring and I’m like Boromir. I’m just so tempted by you.” Another post from December said, “Do you ever think Colby has a chamber of secrets?”
Many other posts have to do with sex or alcohol. For instance, one read, “A guy in Taylor, super late at night: ‘I’m nineteen years old. Do you think I should be using Viagra?’” Another said, “hungover boy Sunday morning in Dana: ‘It was an interesting weekend for me…I remembered most of it.’”
The third type of “Overheard at Colby” post is characterized by intellectual humor or wit. A post in November said, “Dana, guy at sports table: ‘Yeah, he was so dumb he thought blue raspberry was a real fruit!’” A text from one biology major to another read, ‘Do you want to get stoned next Monday and watch a movie about microbes?’”
The purpose of “Overheard at Colby” is to entertain its readers. Many of the posts are clearly a result of the College’s drinking culture. If that College didn’t have the robust weekend life that it does, its “Overheard at Colby” site would likely boast a much smaller following. On one hand, “Overheard at Colby” glorifies the College’s drinking culture by profiting from its effects; on the other, it satirizes that same culture by spotlighting outrageous drunken statements that sound ridiculous come Sunday morning.
The size of the student body adds a layer of intrigue to the site, and many students recognize the quotes they see posted. Students keep coming back to the page in hopes of finding their own words immortalized in its recesses.