SOCIAL media fans have flocked to Twitter to spread infamous jokes and lies about Oxford.
The hashtag #LiesForOxfordTourists has gone viral this week as residents shared their jokes and made-up stories about the city of dreaming spires.
The Twitter feed has been set up to draw attention to Oxford’s attractions and bring in visitors who want to find out whether the myths on the Twitter feed actually have any truth in them.
Oxford folklore such as “Martyrs Memorial is the spire of Oxford’s underground Cathedral,” and “Oxford students are obliged to speak only in Latin on every third full moon” were some of the first tweets posted on the social networking site, which is being used to encourage tourists to visit.
Academic manager Ewan Hirst, who mans the Twitter feed for Blackwell’s bookshop in Oxford, jumped at the chance to start off the tweetathon.
The 47-year-old from Littlemore tweeted his first ‘lie’ on Monday night and said: “When we launched it this week, it takes over your life for the next couple of hours. I don’t want to miss out on the good ones.
“It is just a bit of fun. I don’t spend hours thinking them up.”
A Headington blogger known as Tony OX3 also joined in the fun.
He said: “There are one or two tweets that could be quite convincing, if they didn’t have the hashtag.
“I think it is just a way for people who live in Oxford to tell some of their tales for tourists in a good-humoured way.
“I have been stopped in the street quite genuinely to be asked if I can tell them where the university is.
“Oxford people get a bit of amusement and fun out of it.”
The messages, which started going up on Twitter on Monday, have been passed around Oxford.
But tourism chiefs are not concerned.
Giles Ingram, director of Visit Oxfordshire, which promotes tourism in the county, said: “I think it is most certainly bonkers.
“But It is just a bit of fun and puts a smile on people’s faces.”
Colin Cook, board member for city development at Oxford city council, said: “It just carries on the great tradition of telling lies for tourists.
“The classic one was that the Martyrs' Memorial was actually a cathedral and there are two entrances to it.
“So you would send tourists off down there to look and they would end up at the toilets.
“That dates back to the mid-20th century. I don’t see that there’s any great harm to it.
“I think for the most part, the long-term residents of Oxford rub along quite well with the visitors to the city and treat them with good humour.”
SOME OF THE BEST TWEETS
- If you visit Christ Church with a teddy bear and tell porters his name is Aloysius you get free entry #LiesForOxfordTourists
- Remember, if you're walking or rowing upstream it's called Starboard Meadow. #LiesForOxfordTourists
- On May 1, Oxford Council provide inflatable slides at Magdalen Bridge so people may safely jump in the river. #liesforoxfordtourists
- Oxford students are obliged to speak only in Latin on every third full moon #LiesForOxfordTourists #MaybeTrueForBullingdon
- The fountain on The Plain's roundabout (above) is the true entrance to Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets. #liesforOxfordtourists