The graduate behind Twitter’s “Suffolk Problem”

Running a parody account is a commitment. Just ask Adam.

Adam, who graduated from Suffolk in 2013, started the Suffolk Problem Twitter account during his junior year. Now, he manages the account from another state.

In an exclusive interview with The Suffolk Journal, Adam, who requested that his last name not be used so the account can stay anonymous, spoke about why he started the account, what he thinks Suffolk’s biggest problems are after running it for more than two years, and how he tweets responsibly.

“I started it with my friend,” he said over the telephone. “We used to text each other all of the Suffolk problems that we had. Like, if I was waiting for a slow elevator, or she was, we would text each other the same thing. One night we had some wine and we were laughing about the problems, so we started the account,” he said.

suffolkproblem.pngThe account now has more than 1,000 followers.

It happened over the course of a year, Adam said.

“I remember when it first started catching on. It was funny to me,” he recalled. People would react to the tweets right in front of him when he was a Suffolk student, not knowing he was the one running the account, he said.

“It was obviously a lot easier when I was still a student, and now it’s kind of harder for me to do it. A lot of people tweet at me now, so it’s a lot easier for me to get a feel of what’s going on … I follow all of the Suffolk official pages and Twitter accounts. It’s almost like I’m kind of still there in a way,” he said.

Instead of just tweeting about problems at Suffolk, Adam said he tries to be generic when he tweets, too.

“Today I tweeted ‘caution: falling GPA,’” he said. “I try to tweet things that are relevant and that can still kind of mean something [to Suffolk students].”

As for his anonymity, Adam said, “A bunch of people in my department knew it was me.”

According to Adam, there was a time where Suffolk tried to discourage students from associating with the account.

“The first time I heard about it being a serious thing, one of my friends who is an RA, told me the account came up in the training,” Adam said. “They were saying not to retweet things I said on the account or not to associate with it since it was a negative account and they didn’t want new people to associate with it.”

Aside from that incident, Adam said he hasn’t been contacted by anyone at the university asking him to censor his tweets, and thinks that Suffolk understands that Suffolk Problem is a parody account.

“Suffolk once tweeted me a wink face in response to something I tweeted out, and their main account follows me,” Adam said.

Even though Suffolk officials have not reached out to him, Adam said, “I’ve always been kind of nervous, because at the end of the day I feel like it is a joke but they could get [mad] at me so I always try to be careful.”

About his time at Suffolk, Adam said, “My overall experience at Suffolk was good. I’m a little bitter now because when you graduate you’ll kind of find that it’s a little different. But I wouldn’t say it was a necessarily a bad experience.”

When asked how post-college life is different, Adam said, “Suffolk and college in general is still like this illusion where you have responsibilities and go to class, and once you graduate you get slapped with the loans.” He almost wanted to start a new Twitter, “After Suffolk Problems.”

The top three complaints of Suffolk problems that Adam receives are facilities-related issues, prices of food on campus, and smokers in front of Sawyer.

“The first major problem is Suffolk’s technical things, like the air conditioner is on in the winter, heat on in the summer, or the elevator doesn’t work. One of the benefits of having this Twitter is that facilities people follow me, and the person running that Twitter has followed up with me and has tried to fix things after I retweet something related to them,” he said.

Adam explained how Suffolk students don’t hold back when it comes to voicing their opinions.

“I get a lot of Sawyer smokers complaints. I always get “I’m getting lung cancer,’ tweets. He also said, “Prices of food at Suffolk, meal plans being expensive, that’s another big one too. Some girl just tweeted at me the other day that she paid $9 for a bagel and a muffin.”

And then there are the tweets Adam refuses to share.

“I embrace everyone. I embrace all different religions,” Adam said. “I’ve gotten some really closed-minded tweets from people that go to this university that were shocking. That’s kind of why I didn’t want to give up the Twitter to someone else. I didn’t want what I started to get tarnished or turn into something else.”

Adam once wanted to have a contest or a giveaway to see if someone else could run the account, but doesn’t want the Twitter account to change.

“I think that at the end of the day, my objective is to just capture that breed of what Suffolk is and poke a little fun at it,” Adam said. “The account is kind of a celebration of Suffolk, and it’s kind of funny that I’ve gotten so big. I think the joke is being received.”