Originally published on March 2, 2021.
Unaffiliated and unofficial Colorado School of Mines Instagram accounts have been blowing up at an increasing exponential rate in the most recent months of this academic year. In the past only three months, there have been at least nine new unaffiliated Mines accounts. These accounts can be sorted into three categories: relationships and sex, comedy and confessionals, and random niche things around campus.
@minesvirginityclub is a non-affiliated club at Mines for promoting virginity culture. This account has real advice for those looking to remain virtuous. They also have a spotlight virgin of the week. This contrasts with @whorediggers who feature a sinner of the week. Both accounts have been gaining traction in the past month because of their competitive messaging. @minesvirginityclub praises abstinence above all else and is trying to destigmatize virginity while @whorediggers praises healthy sexual practices and is trying to destigmatize sex. The @whorediggers account was formed in response to the @minesvirginityclub account to show that both the practices of having sex and abstaining from sex are normal.
@mines.matchmaker and @burrosandminers are just simply for finding relationships and friends respectively. @mines.matchmaker is for those students who are tired of traditional millennial dating apps and who want to meet that special nerdy someone. You only have to send a picture, bio, and your sexual orientation to the account holder, and they will match you with the miner of your dreams. @burrosandminers is very similar except it is just for friends. There is a form in their bio to fill out to find your next best friend. This form asks for your major, favorite topics of conversation, what sort of things you would want to do with your new friend and asks you to answer a few questions about yourself and your interests and passions. If you need a new beau or just a new friend these accounts can take the hard work out of it for you.
In the comedy and confessionals category there is @minesconfessions and @smooth_brains_at_mines:
Both of these accounts are comedic confessional accounts. @minesconfessions focuses on confessions from fellow Mines students centered around alcohol, sex, and their nefarious adventures. @smooth_brains_at_mines focuses on confessionals from students with tired and overworked brains. The most notable difference between these accounts is the difference in anonymity. Confessions for the @minesconfessions account are posted entirely anonymously while @smooth_brains_at_mines confessionals are name associated.
In the random niche category, there is @geese_of_mines, @csmbathrooms, and @miners_drive.ins_and_dives. As is most likely evident from the usernames, the accounts in this category focus on niche elements around campus like the resident geese, best Mines bathrooms, and best food from Mines Market. These accounts are fun and sometimes entirely informative. If you need to find a bathroom on campus that will not give you the creeps and might remind you of the Ministry of Magic from Harry Potter look no further than Marquez. If you want to know which food at Mines Market will not make you run in panic to one of those magical @csmbathrooms, the @miners_drive.ins_and_dives account posts reviews of meals.
Again, these are just Instagram accounts that have popped up in the last 3-4 four months. In the summer of 2020, there was an uptake of more serious non-affiliated accounts like @bipoc_at_mines and @csmsurvivors. These accounts brought forth stories from peers showing the inequity of Mines and how little Mines does for its students of color and its students who are survivors of racism, discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, etc. Since about 2018 there have also always been a number of unaffiliated accounts on Instagram for Colorado School of Mines students to highlight mines related memes, student sleeping patterns, and student drinking habits, but why has there been so many in the past few months?
The surge in the number of Instagram accounts is likely tied in part to mental health. At the core of each of these accounts is support. They are all Instagram accounts aimed at a single connected community with shared experiences. The accounts in the relationship and sex categories let you know you are not alone in terms of your choices for sexual activity, and that you don’t have to be alone in general. There are other people on campus searching for relationships and companionship. The accounts in the comedy and confessionals section are aimed at letting students know that they are not alone in their wild escapades and smooth moments trying to remember how many grams are in a kilogram. Everyone goes mind blank, zero brain cell capacity at this school once in a while. And lastly while the niche category accounts may not be directed to support for students letting them know they are not alone; they bring joy to students. In the time of the pandemic where learning has been forever changed and where maintaining interpersonal relationships has become more difficult, students need an outlet to know that they are not alone whether this comes in the context of advice or just sharing experiences using comedy. •