The anonymous Twitter underground

Patrick Williams

An element of mystery pervades in the Twittersphere. A number of people admit to lying, cheating and stealing, while others have found love and comfort among the anonymous pages. The contributors aren’t always anonymous if they don’t want to be, but the people running the accounts always are.

Keith is the man behind @KSUShoutOuts, one of dozens of anonymously run Kent State-themed Twitter accounts not affiliated with the university.

Keith believes only two people know he is behind the page, and he isn’t seriously considering revealing his identity, either. He said he likes the sense of mystery and fun that, for him, goes hand-in-hand with anonymity.


Those anonymous Twitter accounts allow for some good laughs if you dig through a lot of the profane content. Here are a few of our favorites:


That would disprove what Keith once jokingly tweeted: “What if I told you, one person runs all of the KSU twitter accounts. Also they were all ran by Lefton himself…”

Keith said he started @KSUShoutOuts in July of last year. He wasn’t living on campus, and he wanted some social interaction. He actively posts and comments on the page, but most of the content comes from its visitors.

“If someone’s got something to say and they want a lot of people to hear it, I’m glad to be the middleman for them,” Keith said.

Posts vary from the serious — “Any freshman aeronautic students out there” — to the sarcastic — “Huge shout out to the girl that has a poor sense of humor. Can’t believe I thought you were awesome.”

“You get the good, you get the bad, you get the funny, you get the sad,” Keith said of the Tweets that make it on @KSUShoutOuts.

A post about a girl who had gone missing immediately followed a picture of a penis drawn in the snow on a car window.

Keith said he has limits as to what he’ll post. He won’t post overtly hurtful things, but he’s convinced other accounts, such as @KSUConfessions will post just about anything.

Abby Schaub, senior integrated life sciences major, said she doesn’t have a Twitter but sometimes looks at the anonymous pages. The anonymity makes them feel like they belong to the whole of the university, she said.

“With @KSUConfessions, the things that people say are crazy.” she said.

“I have three girlfriends and in my phone they have boys names lol im a player” someone anonymously posted on @KSUConfessions. The page has posted other similar, often more profane, confessions.

Despite the profanity, @KSUConfessions is one of the most popular Kent State anon accounts, along with @KSUProblems, which has the most followers — nearly 9,000.

“Then there’s @KSUBooty, which I wish posted more, but that’s beside the point,” Keith joked.

A buzz was generated when someone set up a fake Beverly J. Warren account the morning of January 8, when Warren was named Kent State’s new president. Since then, @BeverlyJWarren has garnered more than 1,000 followers.

Despite this and aside from approximately three accounts with large fan bases and site traffic, Keith said he thinks the popularity of anonymous Twitter accounts at Kent State is on the decline.

“How many different pages are you going to have of people posting crushes or shout outs or confessions or whatnot?” he said.

Keith has lost much of the interest he originally had in @KSUShoutOuts.

“I’ve kind of slowed down posting on it,” he said.

Other account owners eventually shut down their pages. When Erin Lee, the sophomore visual communications design major behind KSU Crushes, announced that she was going to publicly reveal herself, Keith, via @KSUShoutOuts, advised her not to for the same reason he hasn’t revealed himself.

“I’m surprised she didn’t just make an announcement that she was going to shut it down and leave it there,” he said. “I was actually really surprised.”

Lee got fed up with managing the popular account. In the interview with Black Squirrel Radio’s “Straight Talk Radio” where she revealed herself, she said “I just think it’s doing a lot more harm than it is good, and I don’t want to be a part of that anymore.”

Keith proves the opposite, though, and has helped people through his page. He helped freshmen make connections and find each other last fall, and he has posted the Kent State suicide-hotline number.

He once Tweeted “Flashes remember you’re all great and beautiful. Don’t let a social network site make you think that you’re not.”

People want to know who knows all their #KSUProblems. They want to know who set them up with their significant other. They want to know who is posting pictures of them eating bananas. They want to know, but the fun is in not knowing, and the secrecy keeps it all going.

Contact Patrick Williams at [email protected]