Texts from last night: Misleading the masses with a potent dose of college debauchery?



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The current study adds to a growing body of perceived college norms research as it examines the portrayal of college behavior in a popular blog among college students, www.textsfromlastnight.com (TFLN). TFLN allows users to anonymously submit entertaining “texts from last night,” identified only by each texter’s area code. The site is composed solely of text messages known for their wild depictions of alcohol-, drug-, and sex-related stories. Because of the site’s widespread popularity, this research is concerned with thoroughly describing the site’s content and portrayal of college behavior. According to Social Norms Theory (Perkins, 2003), much of people’s behavior is influenced by their perception of how other members of their social group behave. Through content analysis of a sample of 989 posts, this study analyzed the frequency of behaviors and topics depicted in the posted text messages. Results revealed that topics of sex, alcohol, unidentified intoxication, and insults—presented in isolation or in conjunction—typify the majority of the content. Further, differences in behavior frequencies were present between the top 100 posts with the most “good night” votes and the top 100 posts with the most “bad night” votes.