Barbie Jeep Cruising: The Ups and Downs of Trending

In today’s world, all it takes is the right post to be in the spotlight. For many, a simple picture or video of their day can turn into thousands of likes and shares across social media platforms.

Texas State University has had its fair amount of trending students. From the girl who sat nude in protest outside of the library, to the pool party that trended worldwide, with certain social media endorsements, Texas State students have found popularity.

Recently, a 20-year-old student by the name of Tara Monroe has taken both social media and news outlets by storm. Her claim to fame? Cruising Texas State’s campus in a Craigslist-purchased Barbie Jeep.

COURTESY OF TARA MONROE

One of the many candid snaps of Monroe shared through social media. Courtesy of Tara Monroe

Monroe took it upon herself to drive the battery-operated vehicle to class after recently getting her license suspended.

The cause for the suspension?

Monroe refused a breathalyzer test issued by police after attending a concert. According to Hays County Jail records, Monroe was arrested and faced DWI charges as well as a $3,000 bond.

After facing license suspension, she was left with the choice of walking to campus or riding a bike – neither of which suited Monroe.

“Riding [a bike] around campus sucks,” Monroe told MySA.com. “Like really sucks.”

While some, even myself, find this action hilarious, I don’t think Monroe has fully grasped the effect of her fame.

Monroe’s popularity, which was largely created by the sharing of pictures and videos via the app Snapchat, has spread to other social media platforms, and now news organizations such as USA TODAY, the Washington Times, and even NY Daily News. The only problem: once you’ve gone viral, there is no going back.

Monroe’s story and its finer details will be the first on any Internet search results involving her name. How might a future employer view this? Would they like the idea of hiring someone known for shenanigans involving a license suspension as a minor?

Not only will Monroe be tied to this story, but Texas State University as well. I couldn’t imagine an institution wanting their named plastered all over the media as the home of the “Barbie Jeep Girl.” It was only last April that the university was tied to the frat member known for a ridiculous drunken cab ride.

Texas State has been known in the past as a “party school,” and many students will still back that statement. Does the university want this reputation to continue? Can social media trends carry not only this reputation, but also create a stigma about Texas State that would not be in its best interest?

These are all questions I think Texas State should consider. With the ever-growing audience and participation in social media, organizations such as universities will need to consider the activity surrounding their name and properties.

Monroe has told MySA that she plans to hit the town in her Barbie Jeep on the night of her  21st birthday, again drawing attention to the fact that all of this is due to the illegal actions she took part in as a minor.

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