Recently, university compliment pages have gone viral, giving two Emerson students the idea for one dedicated to the college. After half a week of waiting for someone else to start the page to no avail, the founders, who wish to remain anonymous, decided to take matters into their own hands and create Emerson Compliments, a Facebook profile they said is designed to spread cheer and happiness among the community.
The first version, Queen University’s (QU) page Queen U Compliments, allows fellow classmates to anonymously submit comments through Facebook messaging about other members of the campus, according the the Emerson Compliments Facebook page.
The two Emerson founders post from the account, tagging students receiving the compliment. If the Compliment account is not friends with that person, they send a friend request and post the remark upon acceptance, they said.
Since the launch of the account on Nov. 27, the Emerson Compliments page founders said they have over 1,000 friends and hundreds of compliments, which are posted daily.
Current adoring compliments have referred to students as “a beautiful, wonderful, majestic Disney Princess,” “the nicest person in North America,” and “a passionate, driven, and dependable individual that I’m proud to call my best friend.” Some of them lean towards the comical side, such as, “[he is] Emerson College’s go-to gaffer,” and “[he is] the greatest Taylor Swift impersonator of all time.”
One of the founders said that the purpose of the account is to enhance the sense of community at the college.
“I think Emerson can get a bad rep because we don’t have a campus, and we have lots of little isolated communities,” he said. “I feel like, with a project like this, people can go online and at least see that Emerson students care a lot for and about each other, which is a really cool thing.”
Since the start of QU’s page, nearly sixty similar profiles have been created throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, most of which are anonymous, according to Time magazine. Emerson’s founders said they wish to remain anonymous because they feel the facelessness of the profile is part of the appeal.
Sophomore visual and media arts major Laura Brincat said she would feel differently about the page if she knew who was posting.
“It gives us more perceived freedom,” she said. “If you knew who was complimenting you or who was facilitating the site, people would feel in debt, and would have to repay them.”
Anonymity, the founders said, is one of the central issues that many of the compliments pages struggle with. To combat this and similar issues, the creators of QU’s page created a private Facebook group, University Compliments, that acts as a support network. According to the group’s description, users can post new ideas, questions, and challenges, allowing page administrators to learn from one another.
Other issues surrounding the account include site maintenance and Facebook restrictions, they said. With many comments and friend requests daily, the site is often temporarily blocked.
Brincat said she sends compliments to show she appreciates her friends.
“I’ve sent two compliments, one [to someone who] transferred and was feeling lonely and the other to a good friend who helps me out with my projects a lot who I really appreciate,” she said. “It did feel pretty great when my friends saw their compliments and commented that they loved them.”
The growing popularity of these pages, the founders say, has encouraged many institutions to incorporate the accounts in different aspects of campus life. Some schools’ pages are hiring staff and forming clubs, and others are creating events focusing on anti-bullying, they said.
Sophomore writing, literature, and publishing major Olivia Jacobini said she thinks the page is a fad that will not continue.
“I definitely think it is just a passing phase [that] may stay around for a while, but I don’t think it will become too legitimate,” she said. “It’s like all those memes or gifs: They are funny for a while, but then something else comes up that is more funny or pressing.”
The second founder explained that they have no specific plans for the future of the page. She said they do the work for the pure satisfaction of making students happy.
“I know many people have said they are now in a better mood with their friends, and even strangers that they meet because of it,” she said. “They know that there is an air of positivity and happiness.”