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Streak-for-tweet challenge nets social outburst

Published: Monday, September 9, 2013

Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 23:09


William Guerra


Austin Black

Through the offseason, Johnny Manziel showed himself to the world through tweets and hashtags. On Monday, Austin Black used Twitter to show just as much, with the possibility of exposing even more of himself on Saturday.

At 1 p.m. Monday, Austin — a junior business management major — sent out a tweet promising to streak on the field during the Texas A&M vs. Alabama game Saturday if he received 10,000 retweets. Three hours later — with retweets from notables such as Total Frat Move and several Houston Texans offensive linemen — he exceeded his goal.

The tweet began with expectations of a few hundred retweets and a good laugh, Austin said. But as the numbers began to grow, Matt Crandall, junior business management major and
Austin’s roommate, said their excitement grew with them.

The enthusiasm was only dampened slightly, Crandall said, with a call to a criminal lawyer who discouraged Austin from flaunting himself at Saturday’s game.

Lt. Allan Baron of the University Police Department said Austin could receive various charges if he streaks across the field, but he would most likely be charged with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct by indecent exposure.

Through streaking, Baron said Austin would be violating the student code of conduct. The University could potentially discipline Austin just for his Twitter content, but Baron said he would definitely face consequences from the University if he did streak.

“Under the student code of conduct, he would be violating statutes under the student code of conduct by committing this act,” Baron said. “When you become a student here at A&M, you not only adhere to the academic standards that have been set forth but also the conduct standards that are set forth in the student code of conduct.”

Despite the consequences, Austin said the reaction on Twitter was astounding as he watched his followers increase by hundreds within just a few hours. Complete strangers connected with him, one company offered him free sunglasses for the entirety of the football season and he received a marriage proposal.

“Some Aggies and different people have tweeted me and said that it’s stupid, it’s bad bull and all that,” Austin said. “But I mean, other people have told me that they would pay my bail and some girl actually told me that if I did this that I could propose to her under the Century Tree and she would marry me.”

Austin’s family isn’t as thrilled by his social media fame, Austin said. His mom called him crying and Jessica Black, senior wildlife and fisheries sciences major and Austin’s sister, said this is just one more of her brother’s embarrassing moments. Jessica said she hopes her brother’s antics will be limited to Twitter, but isn’t looking forward to what she might see on the field.

“I’m probably going to close my eyes and cry,” Jessica said, when asked what she would do if her brother exposed himself to the Aggie nation.

But the notoriety could be worth it for Austin. With the fame and a marriage proposal, he said jail might not be too bad.

“I talked to the lawyer, and he said I could be in some pretty big trouble, but I could meet my future wife,” Austin said. “Once I get out of jail, I could have a wife. So that’s pretty positive.”

Austin’s “potential wife,” Tayler Hatcher, senior agriculture communications and journalism major, said she tweeted her proposal as a way of encouraging others to retweet. Hatcher said she hopes Austin doesn’t get in trouble for his tweets and that they remain simply good-natured social media fun.

“I just hope that he doesn’t get in any trouble because it’s definitely all in good fun,” Hatcher said. “He seems like a funny guy. It’s getting some funny hype for A&M, getting everybody pumped up for ‘Bama.”

Crandall said he has different designs for Austin, however, and is going to ensure his roommate is the subject of a few thousand more tweets during Saturday’s game.

“I told him I was holding him to it the second I saw it,” Crandall said. “So that’s pretty exciting for me.”

Ultimately, Austin said he has yet to decide what he fears more — the legal system or hateful hashtags.

“I’m not too sure if it’s really the best idea, but I guess we’ll just have to see on Saturday,” Austin said.

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