By Maggie Sawant, First Year Law
We conducted an anonymous interview with Bristruths to unearth what goes on behind the account's very public but enigmatic presence on our newsfeeds. They share with us how Bristruths has come to play a key role in platforming and guiding conversation on campus, from humour to personal reflections to 'girl with bangles please be quiet in the ASS' (sorry girl with bangles). Bristruths has provided an accessible mouthpiece to the student body and cultivated a sense of joint experience.
Bristruths is undoubtedly a part of student culture at Bristol University. How do you feel Bristruths influences the Bristol community?
Mainly, it’s changed conversations on campus. All of the admins hear people talking about it when they’re in lectures. It’s worked in two ways with the “in-jokes” where everyone asks, “did you see that Bristruth?” and secondly it starts more important conversations. So many issues that affect student life or the wider world have been discussed on and because of Bristruths. We think that the platform is amazing for that.
Bristruths posts, compared to other university confession pages, appear to have more intense reactions. Which university confession page is Bristruth’s greatest rival? Or is Bristruths supreme?
Bristruths is of course supreme. The submissions we receive span so many topics that the page becomes varied and interesting. A lot of other pages just focus on political rants or just grudges but Bristruths seems to have this balance of everything which means you have no idea what the next one you read will be about which makes you want to read more.
Bristruths has spawned Briscrush, Brispets and Brisfood – are there any other areas you are thinking of moving into?
Not for a while. For now, we think we have a strong base. In future it would be awesome to build upon the idea of anonymous crowd-sourced content/journalism and feature that in some way.
A lot of the discussions on Bristruths tend to centre around class, race and homophobia. What do you think are the most important debates that have occurred on Bristruths, and do you think they have had a real influence on student opinion?
It’s hard to single out one debate that’s been had as more important than another. This is because we have no idea how much the conversation has impacted on others as all behind screens but also because the form of Bristruths isn’t really ideal for debating social issues. Effectively, we see the most usefully posts as those which start a conversation which goes elsewhere. Arguing the intricacies of UN declarations on the Israel/Palestine conflict won’t solve anything on our page and as we’ve seen just tend to annoy people. That being said, the voices that have been allowed to speak have shown the wide open of views that Bristol students hold which we hope helps.
When people started sharing their experiences of the health services with others it showed that many people weren’t alone in feeling let down.
We also believe that the conversation that occurred last summer in the wake of the student deaths was monumentally important. When people started sharing their experiences of the health services with others it showed that many people weren’t alone in feeling let down. We were so proud that our page became such a force for good at that point and really hope it helped.
Does Bristruths go beyond amusing statements and informal expressions of grievances and actually bring about change?
It has a huge amount of potential to bring about change but its hard to see if it really does without speculating. The only change we’ve seen made directly as a result of Bristruths are the story of Herman the Cleaner which was amazing but also the story about the Noise Pages breaking. The Noise Pages were first mentioned on Bristruths and then gradually as more and more opinions came to the fore, the university changed their response to them.
Has the University administration ever contacted Bristruths?
Only the press office so far.
On average, how many Bristruths are submitted every day, and how many are posted?
Bristruths gets around 250 submissions a day, we tend to post between 40 and 60 depending on the quality of them.
What was the all-time most popular Bristruth?
Right now, the Mamma Mia drinking game (#Bristruth18658) is the one with the most likes/comments/shares. That doesn’t really mean anything though, everyone has their own favourite one.
We need to know when to check Facebook: are Bristruths posted at certain times every day?
They’re posted over the course of the day, there’s no set time.
We all loved the Bristruths birthday bash. Are more events like this on the horizon?
Most importantly: what makes a good Bristruth?
There’s no set recipe for a good Bristruth. Originality, humour, but also poignance all make a great truth. Our favourites tend to brilliant jokes about Bristol but a lot of people will say that their favourites are the meaningful ones or the helpful ones.
As Bristruths increases in influence, so does the power of the admins in selecting which posts are submitted. There’s been a few recent posts where admins have themselves commented on individual Bristruths. Does this diminish the Bristruths’ vital impartiality?
We try and avoid commenting too much on issues but in light of a string of submissions we received some comments were made. Normally our own views are withheld or submitted the same way that everyone elses are. We try and keep the comments light but sometimes, very occasionally a comment or our thoughts are helpful.
Featured Image: Facebook / Bristruths