Alaine Perconti

We’ve all had those nights where our fumbling fingers were a little too quick to press the send button. Thanks to the Web site Texts From Last Night (TFLN) those regrettable messages give thousands of procrastinating college kids a good laugh the next morning. Instead of being shared with just one fortunate (or unfortunate) individual, last nights’ mistakes are entertainment the morning after for a national fan base.

The phenomenon has recently become much more personal with the emergence of specific groups on Facebook. One such group has been created for the place we call home nine months of the year – Oxford, Ohio. The Miami University TFLN Facebook group features humorous texts about classes, relationships, uptown, and of course what happened last night.

(216): How it all got started

On the original Web site, http://www.textsfromlastnight.com, people submit funny, sometimes hilarious texts they receive. According to textsfromlastnight.com, they evaluate texts and sometimes remove context or specific details such as names and places. The about page said the creators feel this makes texts on textsfromlastnight.com more entertaining for more people.

The Miami Facebook group’s creator, junior Ty Gilligan, said the idea for the group came from the national Web site. Gilligan and his friends enjoyed reading and submitting texts to the TFLN Web site, but didn’t always see their texts displayed. So, they wanted to create something more personal.

Gilligan decided to create the “Texts From Last Night (TFLN): Oxford, Ohio” group.

Gilligan said he also enjoys reading the “Overheard at Miami” Facebook group and the ideas are similar. Members post texts identifiable by only the area code for other members to read and hopefully get a good laugh.

(440): TFLN vs. Overheard at Miami

The similarities between the Overheard at Miami and TFLN groups have raised some concern about the ability of the two to coexist. Overheard at Miami has more than 6,000 members, but has been in existence significantly longer than the TFLN group. The popular Overheard at Miami group features comical and odd conversations “overheard” on campus.

Gilligan hopes his TFLN group does not replace the Overheard at Miami group.

“I love Overheard at Miami!” Gilligan said.

The Miami Student surveyed 100 students online, revealing 21 percent think Overheard at Miami is the most entertaining, while TFLN received 17 percent of votes. The majority of votes were in favor of the original TFLN Web site.

“The texts on the Web site are so much more outrageous than anything on Facebook,” first-year Josh Leon said.

On the other hand, the survey found students who prefer the Facebook group said they liked being able to relate to the posts. Both Overheard at Miami and the TFLN Facebook groups feature people and places familiar to Miami students. Fans of Overheard at Miami say they like reading the conversations and being able to picture the different situations described at the places on campus they visit everyday. Still, others prefer the witty or silly quips from TFLN. Some said they feel the TFLN fad will fade, so it will be interesting to see how the two share popularity within the Miami Network. TFLN is still new, but membership is growing steadily.

(330): Overnight popularity

Through word of mouth and invitations on Facebook, (TFLN): Oxford, Ohio gained almost 700 members overnight and now, after a month, the group has more than 3,000 members.

Based on the popularity of the original Web site, some assumed the group would be popular, but no one anticipated such an enthusiastic response.

“I wouldn’t have expected the group to become so popular so fast. It’s already over half the size of Overheard at Miami. I’m surprised!” First-year and group member Michelle Prior said.

Similar groups have been created for colleges around the country including Ohio State University, Elon University and Boston College. Miami’s group seems to be more popular than the groups created for other schools based on number of members and frequency of posts. The University of Cincinnati’s group has 650 members and Purdue University has 700.

Prior said she has seen posts from other schools’ groups and they don’t seem as funny because it’s hard to relate to situations at other schools.

“It’s difficult to understand the context,” Prior said.

Prior said other schools’ group members do not post as often as Miami students do, making the other groups dull and stagnant.

(419): Anonymity

This type of group depends heavily on member participation.

“Students, including myself, love entertainment Web sites that we can participate in.

Students enjoy Web sites such as FML and TFLN because they are funny, entertaining and easily relate to the reader. A TFLN Miami Group is even more applicable to Miami students, Gilligan said.

The TFLN Web site is constantly flooded with text submissions posted anonymously. On the national site it is virtually impossible to identify the sender of the text because the

creators remove some context and names. In addition, the only form of identification given is the area code of the phone number. So what happens when the anonymity is taken from thesubmission process?

One key difference between the Web site and the Facebook group is the inability to remain anonymous. Whether or not the text came from the person posting, it’s almost impossible to not wonder which of their friends the text came from. Many students say this accountability would deter them from posting, so as not to incriminate their friends.

(TFLN): Oxford, Ohio group member Dan Ruffley said he thinks it makes students more cautious.

“You need to be very careful about who or what you post about since you are not anonymous,” Ruffley said.

While the lack of anonymity may discourage some, first-year Andrew Peterson said he believes it makes the group more personal and entertaining.

“I’ve seen texts that I know were sent by some of my friends, so it definitely makes them funnier,” Peterson said.

Fans say that posts about friends and fellow students at Miami are much more fun to read.

“If I laughed at it, everyone else should too,” first-year theater major Brendan Monte said.

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