By Maci Shingleton
One evening Matt Dyer checked his phone and was surprised by an unusual amount of Facebook notifications.
Dyer had been tagged in comments by his friend Chris Elliot on the TNU Compliments and Crushes Facebook page. As Dyer read the comments, he discovered he had a secret admirer who called herself “Mac and Cheese Girl” and she had been anonymously proclaiming her like for him via Facebook.
The TNU Compliments and Crushes page currently has 922 likes and likely has more readers than the number suggests. The page is a place where Trevecca students profess their love and admiration for others on campus all while remaining completely anonymous.
Students post their affectionate and often humorous comments through a site called AnonyMonkey which allows them to remain completely anonymous. The TNU Compliments and Crushes administrator then collects the anonymous comments and posts them publicly on the Facebook page
“I didn’t know who Mac and Cheese Girl was at the time. I know who it is now. Thank goodness it’s a girl who is serious. I was really scared it was one of my teammates. Luckily is was a girl,” said Dyer, a junior administration and marketing major and Trevecca soccer player.
Mac and Cheese Girl is a popular user on the Facebook page. Students began to encourage her and cheer her on creating hashtags like “#teammacandcheese”.
“I mean they were funny about it. It was genuine and someone being nice,” said Dyer.
With more than 900 likes, the page is clearly popular among students, but some faculty question the potential for harm or embarrassment.
“I’m convinced that affective interpersonal relationships need to have the integrity of knowledge of both people,” said Doug Lepter, chair of the Department of Communication Studies. “I think it offers the opportunity to express interest that maybe a person would not feel bold enough to offer to the person. So it provides that anonymous contact. The problem is, at some point that anonymity needs to disappear.”
Lepter is also concerned that some comments may be insincere and create false hope. He said an anonymous page could potentially be used as an avenue for borderline bullying.
While the administrator and creator of the Compliments and Crushes page insists on remaining anonymous, she did reveal in a private Facebook message how often she does not approve of rude and vulgar comments.
“People are less mature than you think. We want to create a nice and cute space for people to send in compliments for their friends, or honest crushes,” the person who claims to be the administrator of the page wrote in a Facebook message.
Sydney Wisman, a freshman Mass Media Arts and Studies major, admitted when she found out who mentioned her on the page it made things a bit awkward but said she still loves the page and looks at it often.
“TNU Compliments and Crushes should keep on going. It’s fun,” Wisman said. “It shouldn’t be harmful but used to boost people’s self-esteem. I think it should keep going.”