Experts say a new poll ranking Gainesville as the 18th best college town in the United States is likely from a host of Alachua-county-based social media bots. The poll was posted on a website titled “WalletHub” earlier this month.
“There is no more clear example of Alachua-sponsored interference in public opinion than such polls,” stated UF spokeswoman Margot Winick. “The categorical misrepresentation of Gainesville as a pleasant or accommodating city is misleading and blatantly false, and is something the university fully condemns.”
The new media campaign consists of mysterious social media accounts and polling services that serve the purposes of disinformation. All accounts hold the same biases and promote events that try to make Gainesville look up-and-coming, or generally tolerable.
One notable example is the opening and promotion of a second Dillard’s department store in the Oaks mall, which, needless to say, was clearly unnecessary.
Experts like Winick see these efforts as attempts to make Gainesville seem like a “top ten public university town.” Such terminology references similar efforts made to raise the university’s national standing.
One of the metrics defined Gainesville as an economically opportunistic environment for students. When asked about this portion Winick replied: “Make no mistake—there are always opportunities to make a living around Gainesville. Help is always needed for:
- construction workers
- study edge tutors
- UF alert texters
- Jimmy Johns bikers
- honest landlords
- vape shop employees
- scooter salespeople
- and mental health counselors.”
These are industries that are always in high demand in Gainesville—some of which are worse than others. Take honest landlords for example—there are approximately none in town. NONE.
“If you ever find yourself reading an article that makes Gainesville seem decent, first: check to see if the grammar is correct, and second: see if it sounds accurate. It is quite clear that a poll like this is either propaganda perpetuated by agencies under Alachuan influence, or was written by someone who has simply never been to Gainesville before.”