I confess nothing!
Here’s why you should avoid Facebook confessions!
I confess; I am not a good member of the U of R community. Like many members of the student body, I do not go to many, if any, University events and I mostly keep to my own circle of friends. As such, if I want to keep abreast of what goes on in the University, I have few sources to turn to. One such source is the U of R Confessions Facebook page. To me, this seems like a great idea; a page where any student can confess anonymously is a great stress-reliever. On top of that, it can be a good way of figuring out what’s really going on at the University. Hell, the Carillon actually broke an important story based on something someone confessed to the site (Volume 57, Issue 9, p. 5). Having these good feelings about U of R Confessions, I liked several other university confession pages; that’s when my opinion changed.
To be fair, my annoyances with confession pages started with the U of R one. There was a time when all you could find on that page was requests for dates and vague confessions that some girl or boy was so cute. However, these were fairly mild compared to what I found on other sites. There, the requests get really… graphic. On the University of Toronto page, one person makes a request for a British-sounding woman to sexually dominate him because he’s Indian, and I don’t want to say any of the ones I found on the University of Calgary page. Of course, these pages also have some good posts talking about genuine social problems the students in question have. However, the fact that you can find disgusting posts in great quantity on those pages makes me think university confession pages no longer have a real purpose.
First of all, what on earth compels people to post this garbage? The results could vary from trolling to showboating, but the fact remains that some people want others to know that they’re not as sexually active as they are. While one cannot actively tell whoever moderates the page to censor those posts (they are anonymous, after all), they still ruin confession pages. If you see a confession page where these posts form a large proportion of overall posts, this should tell you that the student body doesn’t really care about this page. Ergo, it is not fulfilling its stated function.
Secondly, and more importantly, the existence of these posts causes students to treat the page as a joke. The more people read these comments, the more the page descends into irrelevance. In retrospect, this seems inevitable with anything on Facebook and the Internet in general. What makes it really annoying is that these sites contribute to the problem of destroying the concept of university community. The way I see it, students once again shun a platform that could bring them out of their self-designed cliques and engage with the wider university. Why would you, if all you can expect to see are tales of how someone wants to bang some chick he saw in class, and the same replies (‘You’re gross’, ‘How can you say this?’ etc.)?
Ultimately, I am actually quite pleased with the state of our confessions page; the creation of the U of R Crush Confessions page probably had something to do with it. I just think that confession pages in general have no real reason for their continued existence. They could probably be improved if the various admins decided to be a bit more judicious with what they let in, but that seems unlikely. Instead, it would be best to just ignore the pages and get on with meeting people in real life.