Featured Story, Features

Watch Your Mouth: BC’s Newest Viral Instagram is Listening

Sometimes, if you just take a second and listen to the people around you, you’ll be amazed at what you hear. On the other side of that coin, if you’ve shared an intimate secret on a stroll across campus recently, be warned: you might want to check your Instagram to see if that conversation was truly as intimate as you believed.

A new player in the Boston College Instagram game, Overheard BC has been rapidly expanding its follower base by simply doing exactly what its handle suggests—overhearing.  Currently hovering at over 1,200 followers in just about a month of existence, the anonymous ears of Overheard BC have been hard at work picking up and making public the highlights—and lowlights—of everyday BC conversation.

Under the cover of darkness at a confidential location on campus, The Heights met with the minds responsible for BC’s newest and most incognito Instagram account: four senior girls. The moderators wish to remain anonymous to promote relatability—if people knew who ran the account, fewer people would likely feel as though the quotes relate to them individually, one of the girls explained.

Senior boy, outside Fulton ?‍♂️ #gassongram #overheardbc

A photo posted by Overheard Boston College (@overheardbc) on

Just how was this idea conceived? Like any historically great brainchild, inspiration struck one night at a bar over some drinks.

“We were at Cityside one night, and we just heard a bunch of random stuff,” explained one of the anonymous masterminds. “I don’t remember what we heard that night, but we were just like, ‘That was funny, we need to put it out there,’ so we just made it in our living room one day.”

With that, Overheard BC was born. Inspired by “overheard” Instagram accounts in New York and Los Angeles, BC’s overheard account is apparently venturing into uncharted territory for universities—it appears to be one of the first of its kind.

Initially troubled by maintaining a balance of anonymity and entertaining content, the group found it essential to be cautious about its posting habits. A few slip-ups and excessively obvious conversation leaks put the group’s identity in peril, but for the most part the whole “anonymous” thing seems to be working.

“We can’t really post ones we hear anymore,” explained one Overheard BC authority.

“Someone asked me if I was overheard because, ‘the aesthetic matched my aesthetic,’” added another.

Identity troubles aside, the account’s following was bolstered by a few early, overheard anecdotes that instigated discussion and tagging in the comments. At this point in its life, Overheard BC has gained a strong enough following to begin accepting submissions from like-minded eavesdroppers.

“I think if it really relates to BC and it’s funny, we’ll post it,” explained one of the Overheard BC masterminds who is tasked with the actual uploading of overheard content.

While uneventful overheard submissions are certainly plentiful, ranging from discontent with cereal to complaints about the sweatiness of Mod parties, the majority have been highly entertaining.

“There’s been a lot of stuff about [sex],” said one of the team members unexpectedly. “I remember specifically receiving a submission and being like, ‘We’ve already done a [sex]post, and we can’t do it again.’ That was an aggressive first post.”

Going forward, the group has ambitions to expand its reach, which they believe is predominantly female-based at the moment. A recent change in profile picture and a few posts from males have done much to this end, but comments with the familiar ring of the “BC Biddy” have thus far been the bread and butter of the account. The hope is that the eclectic mix of the two will give the account a healthy variety.

“I think that makes it even better when we get one from a guy,” one moderator said. “There are so many that are like ‘BC biddy,’ but then you get one from a guy and it’s really funny.”

Now established as a true BC Instagram player in the league of former greats like BC Makeouts and BC Confessions, this core group of Overheard BC masterminds roams campus equipped with sharply perceptive ears. According to them, the best overheard moments happen to fall into their laps—taking a simple stroll through campus is apparently one of the best ways of finding content.

“A lot of them come from outside in the Quad area, and it’s best when you don’t know the context,” one mastermind noted, also adding that listening in on a night out is a great way to give the feed some drunken color (see: “The guy is about 5’12”, maybe 6’1””).

For now, the group hopes to build toward a goal of 3,000 followers by Thanksgiving, a definite possibility in light of the recent influx of new followers who are coming aboard. Also joining the Overheard BC party are some recent alumni, and even a BC mom or two.

“We’re not in it for the money, just the fame,” they assured me.  “The anonymous fame.”

With a growing base and a ramp up in post frequency, the group encourages the public to forward them any and all overheard moments they feel are worthy of publicizing. For the rest of the student body, it’s important to stay alert—the walls of BC not only have ears, but also a really popular Instagram account.

“It’s a fun kind of scary,” one Overheard BC master said. “You never know when you’re going to be overheard.”

Featured Image by Abby Paulson / Heights Editor

October 3, 2016