The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has been invited to take up the role of administrator on popular Facebook group ‘Overheard at Oxford Uni’.
He was sent a letter following an a landslide election, in which he won 80 per cent of the vote.
However, quirks of the electoral system mean that the capital’s mayor will have to share authority with Brasenose undergraduate James Johnson, who received only 11 per cent of votes.
After becoming sole overseer of the group, Miles set out to find a colleague with whom to share the significant administrative burden. Although a dictatorship by Miles himself was an early contender for the lead, Boris Johnson won the day, trumping a significant share that went to South African politician Nelson Mandela.
Miles commented, “Despite my addiction to Overheard which has meant that I have not left the house for a record 209 days, I was bitterly disappointed to lose out to someone whose only qualification to run such a large page is having scruffier hair than I do.”
He continued, “I can only hope that if BoJo insists on taking up what I will begrudgingly admit is his rightful place as Overlord of Overheard, then I get to be Mayor for a day. Fair’s fair, right?”
Writing to Mr Johnson, Miles called the group “a veritable cyber-state, with its own citizens […]frequently a law unto itself”, saying, “I doubt much has changed since your day, with regards to the fact that procrastination, such as writing absurd letters to extremely busy public officials, is effectively a national sport (insofar as Oxford University is its own country). On this Facebook group, bored students recount the odd snippets that they have heard around the city, divorced from any context that might give them merit, and then whoring them out for the inexplicably popular currency that is the Facebook ‘like’”.
He continued: “The forum has spoken; by a clear majority, the procrastinators of today (and hopefully bright minds of the future) have chosen you to be their leader[…]You are the man who brought back the Routemaster; hopefully banning a few plebeians from selling knock-off designer sunglasses should not be too much of a challenge to your abilities.”
Miles also refers Mr Johnson to several examples of posts on the group, including the following quote from a helper at this year’s Freshers’ Fair, “Honestly, it’s not fair. Quidditch has been put in the sports section, but our juggling stand has been put in the ‘miscellaneous’ room with all the other nutjobs.”
Overheard at Oxford, which has over 12,000 members, is a group dedicated to recording unusual eavesdropped conversations recorded around the city.
Whilst most students are silent members, others make posting on the group a regular activity, and criticise harshly those whose “Overheards” are not sufficiently amusing, or are believed to be fictional.
The most successful posts tend to rely on Oxonian in-jokes, or occasionally obscure grammar points.
A recent post on the site, with 70 likes as The Oxford Student went to press, attributed to a third year engineer, reads, “I’ve got so much work I’m genuinely considering employing a Brookes student as my PA”.
Boris Johnson is himself an Oxford alumnus, graduating with a BA in Classics from Balliol. Away from his mayoral duties, he’s no stranger to exercising authority in an Oxford context, having held the presidency of the Oxford Union in Trinity 1986.