DISCLAIMER: ALL views expressed in this work are my own and may not reflect the views and opinions of any students, staff, or faculty at Ryerson University or Spirit Live.
If you’re a Ryerson: RTA School of Media student or member of staff and on Instagram, you may have come across @rta.confessions or @rta.memes while browsing your phone. These pages post anonymous, RTA student-submitted memes and messages often dealing with general student life, complaints, and even occasional positive words that students have for each other. Below are a few examples of some typical posts one may see on these accounts.
Conceptually, I think that this is a great way for RTA members to be able to relate with each other. The majority of us all face similar struggles in our academic career, and providing an anonymous outlet to voice concerns, thoughts, and opinions is generally a good thing. In fact, some of the posts have become inside jokes with people in RTA and I think this helps to promote a sense of community and togetherness between Media Production, New Media, and Sport Media. These two accounts function pretty smoothly for the most part, however there have been a few incidents over the past few months that have led to a three-way RTA civil war.
Surprisingly, I was first introduced to these accounts late last semester by one of my program’s instructors, as they were chuckling about the ongoing beef between Sport Media and Media production students. As I stated, although the content on these pages are generally tame and pretty harmless, it is also prone to becoming a tribal battleground for members of the RTA’s three programs to criticize each other and voice their dismay with fellow students. These posts/comments can range from passive-aggressive to full out malicious, and the students and staff that I have talked to all seem to have differing opinions on whether or not this is all in good fun or damaging to school unity and pride. Here are a few of the highlights (or lowlights) that best showcase the drama.
Although the examples I used above are some of the more extreme cases, it’s pretty clear that students are absolutely willing to stand up for themselves and defend their education.
I don’t personally take offense to anything directed towards my program or any others, but I can certainly see why this would be an issue for a lot of people. The majority of these two accounts’ followers generally sit back, watch, and laugh, but some of the shots fired at other programs have been enough to prompt some less than savoury rebuttals. In fact, one of the examples of the comments section that I had planned to use had been deleted after a few days because of the toxicity, so I was unable to get a screenshot of it.
Admission into the three RTA programs is no easy feat. The time, effort, and commitment that each student puts into their work cannot be understated, and many take pride in their status as members of this faculty. Because of this, one student that I spoke to said that their classmates felt that they were being disrespected and devalued because of their program affiliation. This didn’t surprise me at all, as many of the comments seem to reflect this same sentiment whenever there’s inter-program discourse.
Other students that I have spoken to also stated that they act “outraged” and “defensive” online as a means of friendly rivalry, but don’t actually feel strongly about the topic outside of that. Thankfully, there have also been diffusers from each program both in the comment section and posting anonymously, attempting to cease the animosity and remind students that they can all be different without causing conflict.
Clearly, each individual feels differently about what’s being said on these platforms, and I think that all feelings are valid based on what I’ve heard. There’s no definitive answer on whether or not these accounts are good or bad for RTA, but as long as the digs and attacks aren’t hateful or singling out individuals, I think that there’s room for their existence in Ryerson’s social media atmosphere.
Having said that, RTA students should also remember that each school within our faculty is made up of tons of unique individuals, and no two people are completely the same. While lumping entire programs into a single group for the purpose of telling a joke can be funny and harmless, everyone should try and be conscious of the fact that one student or incident does not reflect everyone else. As far as I can tell, the effects of these posts have not translated to any real-world dramatics, so as long as people are keeping it inoffensive and getting too personal, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Program politics aside, I also wanted to point out that the @rta.memes account does have some really funny content that every member of RTA can probably relate to. Here are some of my personal favourites that I’ve encountered over the past few months.