Online gossip, hurt feelings, bullying — as a generation that grew up on the internet, most college students have felt the burn of a nasty anonymous email or message.
Enter “USC Compliments,” a new Facebook page created by a group of anonymous USC students that allows the USC Facebook community to spread kindness by messaging the account with a compliment for a fellow Trojan. The administrators then post the comment on their page with the name of the compliment’s recipient, leaving the sender completely anonymous.
Two administrators, who asked to remain anonymous, said they created the page in hopes of counteracting the online bullying that happens far too often on the Internet.
“So much gossip and bullying occurs on social networking sites these days, and we are hoping to do our part to help people realize that a positive word can be so much more transforming than a negative one,” the administrators said in an interview Thursday.
After only three days of operation, the administrators have posted more than 150 compliments and have received a great amount of positive feedback from students and faculty. Kate Kulaga, a freshman majoring in architecture, says that USC Compliments has already been a helpful force in the USC community.
“USC Compliments is an amazing idea because though it has the potential to be funny to read, it really just creates a positive environment through which students can feel closer to the Trojan community,” Kulaga said. “It is such a great portal for acknowledging people’s positive traits and expressing opinions, especially when it’s anonymous because there’s sort of a ‘no shame’ type of attitude when posting.”
Many students who have received compliments are also supportive of the page, claiming that a single Facebook post changed the outcome of their entire day as well as their outlook on USC in general. Christie Cyprus, an undeclared freshman, said the page demonstrates a certain sense of community within the Trojan Family.
“I’m really glad the USC Compliments page was started, as it really does make a positive impact on the community,” Cyprus said Wednesday, after receiving a compliment earlier that day. “When students see nice things written about themselves and fellow students, it inspires them to want to compliment others and share their appreciation. Overall, it seems to promote a much more encouraging and friendly environment.”
Some administrators have noticed the facebook page, as well. Vice Provost for Undergraduate Programs Gene Bickers said he first heard of USC Compliments when a former student submitted a post about him.
“I think it’s a really nice idea. It actually made me feel good. It was the highlight of my day,” Bickers said on Wednesday.
Other students, however, find the page slightly overbearing at times. Milan Bhatt, a sophomore majoring in economics, said that he is starting to regret liking the page on Facebook.
“I think it’s a good idea, but to be honest, I’m considering defriending the page,” Bhatt said. “My news feed is constantly flooded with posts about people I don’t know – I can barely find anything on my Facebook about my friends while I’m still connected to the page.”
Nonetheless, the response to USC Compliments has been overwhelmingly positive, according to the page’s administrators. And nice words about their peers have not been the only good thing to come out of the page — the administrators said the page has morphed into a place for USC students to meet online.
“We’ve also noticed that new friendships have been triggered as a result of the page; for example, the recipients of the compliments will sometimes comment asking to meet up or exchange numbers with the person who sent the message,” the administrators said.
Administrators of the USC Compliments page hope it is the start of a broader promotion kindness around campus.
“We want to show all of USC how far kindness can truly go, and we think this Facebook page is a great way to start,” the administrators said. “We have both been so shocked by the positive response to the page, and we’re excited to see where it goes.”
Daniel Rothberg contributed to this report.