Tiger Nation Twitter delivers varied reactions

Tiger Nation: Striped overalls, face paint and everything red, white and black. Since the position of a student section leader was contrived by the students themselves, the definition of what makes a student section leader varies from person to person. In this third installment, the representation of Tiger Nation on social media will be discussed. Next week, in our final article of the series, athletes and coaches will evaluate the importance of Tiger Nation  and assess how school spirit makes a difference in their activities.

With 2,075 followers, the Tiger Nation Twitter account has become a powerful resource for students and the account leaders. Whether it’s informing students of the events going on at the high school or letting the student body know what the “out” is at certain athletic events, the impact the Tiger Nation Twitter account has is widespread. Like senior section leader Jack Moody said, “It can spread fast and be seen by many with retweets and likes.” 

Regarding the student section leaders’ responsibilities on Twitter, former student section leader, class of 2017, Lucas DeWitt  tweeted about the different outs and reminders for the upcoming games and activities. 

Current student section leader senior Jack Plagge said their presence on social media hasn’t changed since DeWitt graduated. He said they try to post about all activities equally. “We only tweet stuff we know about. If there is an event that we might not know about, simply come to us and ask us to tweet something. We usually will. Sometimes we forget because we get sidetracked with school, but we try our best,” Plagge said.

Referring to the tweet pictured on the right, some students feel the Twitter account sometimes isn’t used for the right reasons. “They aren’t exactly the most respectful leaders, especially on Twitter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really bashing them because I don’t really mind what they do, but they could work on their reputation,” senior Mia Dexter said.

On Oct. 30, 2019, the Dubuque Senior student section account posted a picture of tiger skins laid in a row with the names of CFHS football players’ last names written across them with the caption “UNI-Dome. #letshunt.” Tiger Nation then responded two days later, posting a picture of two overall-wearing leaders, whose faces are covered by tiger heads, performing “vulgar” acts on the mascot statue located on Senior’s campus. 

Although Dubuque and Cedar Falls may have been just trying to have fun and build up tension, DeWitt said, “There is a fine line between jabbing before a game and full online bullying and attacking other schools (not acceptable).” 

Dexter said when she saw the exchange of tweets she was unsure how to feel. Although Tiger Nation didn’t start the argument, Dexter said they didn’t have to feed into it. “The Dubuque kids posted … first, which isn’t really nice or respectful either, but then they (Tiger Nation) responded with that? I’m all for playful arguments, but like?” Dexter said. 

Moody said he believes our student section’s Twitter account is fairly tame compared to other schools in the state. “I think our Tiger Nation account is pretty similar to most other schools accounts. I believe we actually do a better job as far as posting tweets that leave a good reputation for our school,” Moody said. “If you look at other schools’ student section Twitters, some of the things they put out are pretty questionable.”

Other students said they don’t think the postings done by Tiger Nation represent Cedar Falls High School in a positive way. “The current Twitter drama and pettiness represents Cedar Falls in a negative manner and doesn’t put the focus on the athletics,” junior Erin McRae said.

Moody said they have good intentions for Twitter. “Sometimes we will post pictures or memes, and most of the time they’re meant to be funny. We try not to get too involved with arguments with other schools because our Twitter is a direct reflection of CFHS.” 

Trusting it will be used responsibly, the Tiger Nation Twitter account is completely in the hands of the current student section leaders. “We (administration) have no affiliation with that (the Nation’s social media),” Principal Jason Wedgbury said. “Although, I would say we’ve always had some interactions with our student leaders just to always try and give reminders or stay on the positive side of things. So we’ll have discussion, but we do not oversee it. We do not control it. Nor do I want to.”

Activities Director Troy Becker said that though the student section leaders have control of the account, sometimes they are cautioned by administration. “The leaders we have had recently have been very accepting of our feedback and our comments and have made appropriate changes to make sure were representing Tiger Nation in a correct way,” Becker said. 

Wedgbury said there is a lot riding on the student section Twitter account and stressed the responsible use of it. “It is a representation of our school whether it is connected or affiliated with our school, it is a representation. It has a lot of followers. It has a major influence on what people see, view or think. Great tool, if it’s used appropriately,” Wedgbury said.

Women’s basketball coach Gregg Groen said that social media is a great way to inform the students about events. “I do think it can be a great way to inform fans and support our student athletes, promoting the great things they are doing,” Groen said.

To ensure the tweets come across how they’re meant to, current student section leaders said they consult with one another before posting. “What gets tweeted is usually discussed by everyone for the most part. We ask for each other’s opinions on what to say, what the theme is, etc.,” Moody said.

In a survey conducted by the Tiger Hi-Line, some students said they didn’t see any problems with how the Twitter account is managed. One student said that social media helps bring awareness to teams not getting as much attention. “They shout out a ton of sports that aren’t as popular as football and wrestling, and really get the word out to support all Cedar Falls athletes,” junior Landon Schaul said. 

Another student praised the leaders for hyping up a lot of different activities. “I believe that Tiger Nation lives up to the ideal student section, because they post about a lot of different things and are very good at hyping up the team and the students,” senior Jaylynn Easterly said. 

As a member of the cross country team, senior Ryan Westhoff said he’s disappointed but not shocked by the lack of recognition the Tiger Nation Twitter gives his sport. “It didn’t really anger me that much because I pretty much expected that to be the way it would work,” Westhoff said. “Tiger Nation is good for what it does. I don’t really see it as being applicable to a lot of other sports that are less ‘popular’ like cross country, but it does disappoint me sometimes in the fact that there’s not as much student support.”

Westhoff said although it’s not a huge concern, even the simplest of acts, like a retweet, would suffice. “Not doing a gesture as simple as sending a tweet out or retweeting a CFHS Athletics post tends to show where the energy and priorities of a group like Tiger Nation lies,” Westhoff said.

The current student section leaders said they apologize for the lesser attendance and spirit when it comes to the less popular sports. More specifically, they apologize for the small turnouts and less planning going into women’s basketball games. “I guess I personally can’t answer why we didn’t have outs for women’s basketball games. I guess we didn’t really think about it, and we apologize,” Plagge said.

Despite their oversight, Moody said they are actively trying to be more representative of the school population, starting with women’s basketball. “We are definitely going to try to get a crowd for the upcoming girls games like substate and senior night,” Moody said.

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