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Pittstagram: The Rise of the On-Campus Influencer

Over the past few weeks, Pittstagram has become far more than just Cathy close-ups and river views. For content that’ll get you pumped up for the release of Red Taylor’s Version, you can give @pittswifties a follow. For posts that’ll have you debating with your friends about trivial things all day long, @pitt.hot.takes has you covered. Whether you’re a Directioner, a huge fan of The Perch or just looking for that girl who complimented your shoes in Hillman, there’s dozens of brand new accounts that will add some flair to your feed.

One of the many accounts that have prospered during this Pittstagram boom is @pittbarbz, an account for Pitt Nicki Minaj fans by Pitt Nicki Minaj fans. Similar to accounts like @pittswifties and @pittdirectioners, @pittbarbz posts “sightings” of the artist in front of campus landmarks like Cathy and The Perch. Despite having upwards of 1.1k followers, like many other Pitt fandom accounts, its admins have chosen to remain anonymous.

“We created this account because we are huge Barbz (Nicki Minaj fans) and we have so much school spirit,” said a @pittbarbz admin. “We really enjoy interacting with other Nicki Minaj fans at Pitt! It’s been a great experience and we’re so happy that there are so many fellow Barbz here!”

In addition to accounts like @pittbarbz, many of these up-and-coming new pages rely on follower interaction and engagement to create their content. Some of the most popular accounts growing their follower base using this format include @pitt.missedconnections, an account dedicated to helping Pitt students track down people in the community who have made small but positive impacts on their lives. 

Another account focused on engaging with the Pitt student community is @pitt.disses, an account which the anonymous admin claims, unlike @pitt.missedconnections, is oriented towards spreading “pure negativity” by posting student-submitted anonymous disses. Clearly, this strategy is working out very well for them, as after less than a few weeks, @pitt.disses has already amassed upwards of 2.7k followers.

Though most of these accounts may seem harmless, as with almost anyone who gains a large social media following in such a short amount of time, many Pittstagram admins have already encountered their fair share of controversies. Recently, accounts like @pitt.hot.takes have come under scrutiny for sharing misogynistic “hot take” submissions criticizing women for their outfit choices and body types.

“Sometimes people submit things that are genuinely foul and mean-spirited,” said the admin of @pitt.disses. “It is difficult to figure out where the line is between what was acceptable to post versus what should potentially be reported to Panther Central.”

Despite these challenges, countless new accounts seem to be adding to the Pittstagram boom. With enough Panther pride and social media savviness, you too can become the next big campus influencer.

Samantha Salz is a first-year student at the University of Pittsburgh studying on the pre-OT track. In her free time, Samantha enjoys going on long runs, watching reruns of Parks and Rec, and hanging out in the city with her friends!
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