Anonymous words of kindness
Anonymous words of kindness UB Compliments gives students unexpected boosts of confidence
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 3, 2013 18:02
Maggie Kreuz, a sophomore occupational therapy major, was more than flattered when she logged onto Facebook and saw what an anonymous user had posted about her:
“You are such an amazing friend and truly are the happiest person I know. You always bring a smile to anyone’s face and never fail to make people laugh. You will do such great things in life and inspire so many people. Just keep on being you!”
A new Facebook page, UB Compliments, allows users to anonymously post positive words about fellow UB community members. When universities around the world sparked new “compliments” pages on Facebook, one UB student decided to join in.
The UB Compliments page was born in late Nov. 2012. The founder – who wished to remain anonymous – started the page during finals of the 2012 fall semester to bring a refreshing dose to kindness to the school’s population during a particularly stressful time for students.
The operation is simple and doesn’t require anyone other than the creator to run the page. People message the page or the corresponding email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the creator reviews the messages and then posts them. She checks for hurtful or inappropriate comments and asks for any inappropriate messages to be revised before posting.
“I have always loved doing random acts of kindness and appreciated them when they were done to me … after one of my friends received a compliment from their school’s respective page, I simply fell in love with the idea,” she said.
According to Time magazine, the first compliment page began at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. The page went viral. Schools such as Penn State, Brown University, UC Berkeley and even high schools and clubs began to take part.
While the Queen’s page spread in a matter of days, the UB Compliments page took a little while to really kick off, according to its manager.
“It was relatively slow at first, but after a few days, it really took off. Since then, the popularity has been somewhat steady,” she said.
Nevertheless, she doesn’t think the page has peaked yet; she believes it will only increase from here.
UB Compliments is a platform for anyone to show appreciation for other UB students, especially if they don’t feel comfortable saying something face to face.
“There are so many different types of people here and it’s important to embrace that and compliment people who stand out in your eyes,” the creator said.
The main goal of the page is to spread positivity in a big school (with nearly 28,000 students) where it is so easy to get lost in the mix, according to the creator. The creator hoped simple Facebook posts would brighten just one person’s day. Students who have received messages agree UB Compliments does just that.
“Seeing the compliment made me so happy,” Kreuz said. “I did know about the UB Compliments page because I had seen some of my friends getting tagged in posts and had actually sent in a few compliments myself.”
Kreuz believes UB Compliments makes students sending and receiving kind words equally happy because it helps people spread love to their friends and also makes people at UB seem more approachable.
Laura Tirabassi, a senior nursing major, was overjoyed when she was notified that she had received her compliment, which read: “You have the biggest heart, most open mind, and beautiful soul. You are such a great friend!”
“It was really nice getting a compliment from an anonymous person,” Tirabassi said. “I don’t know if it was a friend or an acquaintance, but it definitely brightened my day.”
Maria Gomez, a junior international business major, said the resource is a great way to cheer someone up.
“I think people can be so mean to each other sometimes, and something like UB Compliments could really lighten someone’s day who needs it,” Gomez said.
The creator said the account has received a lot of personal, heart-warming messages thanking her for starting the page. Each one affirms her motivation to keep it up. It also reminds the creator that people appreciate the idea.
While students at the university continue to take part in posting compliments about others and some have even volunteered to help out, the creator has also received negative feedback.
“I was at a party one time and people starting talking about the Facebook page and how whoever created it must have done it just to compliment their friends,” she said.
Eager to keep the page going regardless of its “haters,” the creator was more focused on preserving the anonymity of the page than proving its true purpose: her way of giving back to UB.
She is a senior and plans to graduate in May. Although the future of the Facebook page is unknown, she is enjoying the ride and considers UB Compliments something she can be proud of, even after leaving UB.
The compliment-page craze has shifted the negative views of social networking to a more gracious outlook, according to The Huffington Post. While in the past, sites have encouraged people to post negative comments and have enticed cyber bullying, compliment pages have created a kinder way of posting about others on the Internet.