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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
What Does #YOLO Mean to You?
Tufts University in Massachusetts wants to know. The internet is positively alight with the headline. Who knew? Who cares? What does YOLO even mean?
Let's backtrack. Let's assume hash tags and millennial acronyms aren't your thing. "You only live once" is not a new turn of phrase (isn't it an old Bond movie?), but it was recently repackaged (YOLO) by the rapper Drake in his 2011 hit "The Motto".
Condensing the carpe-diem-esque concept into a four character soundbyte helped it take flight in the social media realm. You've not really arrived until you've been hash-tagged, after all. Even if you're a dog-eared platitude.
Undeterred, Tufts-a small, private, liberal arts institution in an area of the country brimming with such places-is trying to set themselves apart by being faux-cool. Like many universities have in recent years, Tufts is making a show of breaking the stuffy aesthetic of admission essay prompts.
To be precise-the question itself doesn't really break any new ground; it's the way they're asking it: "Have you ever seized the day? Lived like there was no tomorrow? Or perhaps you plan to shout YOLO while jumping into something in the future. What does #YOLO mean to you?"
The web is abuzz with discussion, which seems slightly misplaced since Tufts has a history of offering unusual prompts ("Discuss your nerdy side"). They've touched a nerve with some who feel the nod to an African-American rapper is an exploitative attempt at relevance by a historically white institution.
Which is precisely all that any university can hope for. With a 2012 acceptance rate of under 19%, Tufts is not starving for applicants. But in a competitive environment in which all universities must meet their financial bottom lines, relevance is key. #goodmarketing
Labels: What Does #YOLO Mean to You?
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