On a recent day in February, UConn’s Instagram followers heard a new voice. “Good morning followers! I am taking over the UConn account for the day! My name is JJ Bivona and I’m studying biological sciences, Class of 2016.”
The University’s Instagram account had been hijacked.
But Bivona was no hacker. Throughout this academic year, UConn’s nearly 6,000 Instagram fans have been treated to regular glimpses into student life through images posted by students who have elected to do an “Instagram Takeover” for a day … or two if a snow prematurely closes the University.
“It was cool to be very mildly famous for two days,” says Bivona, who posted Feb. 18 until about 2 p.m., when classes were canceled because of snow, and then picked up again on Feb. 25 to complete a full day.
“I had one student approach me during lunch to ask how I got control of the account,” Bivona says. “After the Takeover I also was contacted by a prospective student who had some general questions about UConn, and had some feedback from someone who had graduated.”
Launched this past fall, the “Instagram Takeover” feature invites students to be the sole provider of images to the University’s account for a day. As the visibility of the feature has expanded, so has the number of students who volunteer to post.
“The goal for the Instagram Takeovers is to show UConn from a student’s point-of-view,” says Alexa Biron, social media manager in University Communications. “We want to reveal the unique experiences that different students have at UConn depending on their field of study, activities, where they live.”
Between the two days, Bivona posted more than a dozen images. They included snapshots of his commute to class on the Red Line; the cover of his exam on genetic engineering and functional genomics that, coincidentally, had been rescheduled from an earlier snow day; his screenshot of the message about the cancellation of classes on Feb. 18; and his lunch at the Student Union.
“I wanted to give people a look at my life and how I usually spend my Tuesdays,” says Bivona, who initially declared Instagram and Twitter his current favorite social media platforms. “But a picture is worth a thousand words, so I guess that beats Twitter’s 140 character limit per tweet.”
To follow the Takeovers and more UConn images, visit instagram.com/UConn or search @UConn in the Instagram app. Students interested in participating in an “Instagram Takeover” should email firstname.lastname@example.org