Though thousands of miles separate the two institutions, Berklee College of Music has recently become the subject of Twitter harassment regarding UC Berkeley’s cancellation of a Milo Yiannopoulos appearance due to their similar sounding names.
Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak on campus Feb. 1, but UCPD evacuated him from the campus after violent protests erupted. The following day, President Donald Trump took to Twitter threatening to cut federal funding from the campus. When venting about these matters on Twitter, however, many users directed their thoughts to an institution that plays no part in the issue, mistaking Berklee College of Music for UC Berkeley.
“@BerkleeCollege Hope you fucking snowflake commies lose every fucking $…” one user tweeted at the college.
Rachel Taravella, digital marketing manager of Berklee College of Music, stated that, in all, the official Berklee College Twitter received 100 to 200 tweets about the Yiannopoulos event or Trump’s threats to cut federal funding. The large volume of tweets hindered operations for social media staff at the institution.
“It (took) a bit of time to sift through all of the misdirected tweets in order to find those who were actually engaging with the Berklee brand,” Taravella said.
Taravella cited negligence of some Twitter users as the reason for the misdirected tweets. She believes that Twitter users do not think that Berklee College of Music was the host of the protests, but that they are failing to correctly tag UC Berkeley. She noted that users may be typing ‘berk’ into the Twitter search bar and tweeting at Berklee College because it is among the first options to appear.
“We generally ignore tweets like this,” Taravella stated, “We’ve got a policy of ‘Engage with the good, respond (to) the bad, ignore the ugly’ on social (media) — and these definitely qualified as ugly.”
While Berklee College of Music was subject to attack on Twitter, UC Berkeley’s social media staff has had to manage its own share of charged tweets from users who correctly mentioned the school.
Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said the tweets have not caused any major issues for social media staff.
“(We have a) great social media staff,” Mogulof said. “Given the stature of (UC) Berkeley and its high profile, it’s in the news on a regular basis … so it didn’t hinder any operations.”