Students confess, flirt incognito
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 19:02
Three anonymous Facebook pages that focus on commentary about Loyola social life have recently become a hit with some students and a slight concern with others.
Loyno Confessions, Loyno Crushes and Loyno Compliments, three unrelated pages created by different people in the Loyola community, all sprung up around Feb. 21. The three pages use anonymous surveys hosted by a different website for students to submit their thoughts and have them reposted to the Facebook page.
The creators of the page have chosen to stay anonymous.
“It’s become a common part of our daily conversation talking about which friends were complimented,” English writing sophomore Gabrielle Gatto said.
The page creators cite the desire to see one’s own name mentioned as the reason for the rapid rise in popularity of the groups.
“I think people are mostly anxious to read more. I’ve even got confessions about people waiting to see if their names appear on the page,” the creator of Loyno Confessions said.
The inspiration for the pages comes from other schools that have started similar social experiments.
Confessions’ inspiration comes from a similar Facebook group from Tulane.
“Reading their confessions made me wonder what it is that Loyola students had to confess,” the creator of Confessions said.
Loyno Compliments follows the model of a social project started by students at Queen’s University and continued at Columbia University. Compliments wanted to provide a medium for students who want to say something nice about someone at Loyola, but would not feel comfortable saying it in person.
“I think this page can serve as a really great way to boost school spirit and help people feel like their positive attributes aren’t going unnoticed,” the creator of Loyno Compliments said.
Despite the positive nature of the majority of the posts, some negative ones have gotten through.
Mark Poepsel, assistant professor of mass communication, believes the anonymous nature of the site creates a potentially dangerous public forum.
“It’s inviting people to talk poorly to one another in a public forum. Any time that happens and it’s anonymous you have the potential for people to make things up, or spread rumors, or say things that one party knows that the other wants to keep secret,” Poepsel said.
This page opens up a venue where a lot of problems can happen, where people can badmouth each other with almost no checks and balances about what’s true or not.
Two similar sites that allowed anonymous posting, JuicyCampus and CollegeACB, were both shut down in 2009 and 2011, respectively, after much controversy over the posts featured.
Both Loyno Compliments and Loyno Confessions said they know where to draw the line, though.
Posts blatantly mentioning something demeaning about someone are usually screened.
“I’m trying not to reveal names if they are submitted in a negative light, so I’ve begun to blank out names and personal descriptions that can be deemed as offensive,” the creator of Confessions said.
“I think anonymous posting can be a good thing, but I do find it beneficial that Loyno Compliments regulates posts to ensure that the page only promotes positive opinions,” the creator of Compliments said.
The sites likely won’t face the legal issues of their predecessors, but far as the legality of using the university’s image in this social context is concerned, Poepsel said that the university can pursue some sort of legal action if there’s any perceived damages to retention or in recruiting new students, but that kind of thing takes years to demonstrate, he said.
“At some point the administration is going to get wind of it, and they’re going to have to deal with it. They’re either going to have to monitor it very closely or try to shut it down,” Poepsel said.
The creator of Loyno Crushes could not be reached at the time of publication.
As for now, the two anonymous creators who responded plan on keeping the pages running. Both intend to keep it up throughout their time at Loyola and have even thought about passing it down.
You’ll likely never find out who they are, though.
Eric Knoepfler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org