Facebook group brings UA community together

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Facebook group brings UA community together

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

Grace Schepis | @GraceSchepisCW, Staff Reporter

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Whether you are looking to catch Saturday’s game, lost your car keys, want to find a stray dog to foster or need some old textbooks, the Alabama Student Ticket Exchange has got you covered. 

The Alabama Student Ticket Exchange Facebook page began in 2010 when Tyler Anderson, now a UA alum, admired a similar tool used by the students of Auburn University.

“I had some friends who went to Auburn that used a Facebook group to trade tickets, so I tried finding something similar at Alabama,” Anderson said. “I couldn’t find one, central group, just several small groups. I couldn’t believe that cow college had one and Bama didn’t, so I made my own.”

To bring attention to the group,  Anderson began promoting it wherever he could in hopes that it would amount to a community for students to move around their football tickets. 

“I added everyone I knew and advertised it in other UA student groups,” Anderson said. “It grew crazy fast… like way faster than I ever imagined.”

Now with just over 75,000 members, the page is always getting requests to join, new posts to be approved and messages about ticket exchanges. 

“Managing it started to become a part time job,” Anderson said. “When I graduated, I obviously had less time to manage the group, so I gave control to Dave Love.”

Dave Love runs a computer repair business out of Tuscaloosa.

Anderson and Love had met online when Love had expressed consistent interest in taking over the page for two years. Finally, when Anderson sold him the page, Love was there to clean it up a bit.

“At first I wanted to use it to advertise, but once I broke even, I changed it into solely a space for students to sell tickets, with no politics or anything,” Love said. 

Not to say that the Ticket Exchange is all tickets – as members know, the posts can range from petitions against student parking conditions to advice on which calculus professor is the easiest grader.

“It turned into UA’s homepage pretty much,” Anderson said. “I tried to make other groups for everything else, but they never took off.”

Love had experience managing groups, and knew what needed to be done once it was in his hands.

“People posted whatever they wanted,” Love said. “There was porn, scams, all of that.”

At the time, it was an open page where anyone could join. It now stands as a closed group, where Love has to approve anyone who wishes to join, and they must answer a few questions before being considered. Love refers to himself as the “daddy” of the group, filtering people out who post “unrelated junk” every day. 

While the University itself has never reached out to Love about the group, he believes they have a type of unspoken mutual agreement.

“I haven’t found a group run by UA that represents the students like this,” Love said. “I keep it clean, and I want the University to know that I have their back and that we will represent UA well.” 

Even after years of Love, along with his three other moderators and one other administrator, controlling the page, some issues out of their control still stump ticket exchangers.

“Ticket scamming is a real challenge,” Love said.

Love constantly advises users not to use popular pay apps such as Venmo, and that the only way to protect your money is through PayPal. Love still gets emails and messages about what to do if you have been scammed, and that it is hard to inform people about how to keep their money safe.

Caden Harris, a freshman majoring in public relations, has been a member of the group since the start of this semester. 

“It’s a really effective way to get tickets as a student, and it runs pretty well,” Harris said. 

Harris has tried to buy things on the page before but wishes there was a way you could guarantee your purchase.

“One improvement could be a ‘lock-in’ feature for when people are competing to buy things, if that’s possible,” Harris said.