There’s been a lot of hype over the NIU Confessions Facebook page.
The page has garnered close to 3,700 fans since it was first created just over a month ago. I was very excited to see a giant collection of students sharing crushes or embarrassing weekend shenanigans and maybe submit a few of my own darker secrets.
NIU doesn’t have a quad. We don’t have a central place on campus where everybody wants to hang out. Instead, we have our own little circles that expand and contract over the four or so years we live here as we migrate from dorm to dorm to apartment to apartment. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but I was looking forward to discovering a sense of broad community among NIU students with these confessions page. Unfortunately, I was apparently overly naïve with my anticipation.
The posts themselves didn’t bother me, despite many confessing they constantly cheat on their significant others or dunk their roommates’ belongings in a filthy toilet. Many confessions I’m assuming are often exaggerated if not entirely made up, which ought to be expected from anonymous submissions. What bothered me most were the comments. The problem with the page is it brings out the best and worst parts of anonymity.
While many people use this page as a way to praise themselves for acting like idiots, some fans submit legitimate confessions seeking some sort of guidance or support. Though most of the responses for such posts are supportive and compassionate, I can’t help but be extremely disappointed in those who took the vulnerability of an anonymous student’s confession as an invitation to hurt someone.
Freshman psychology major Katherine Sheehan also expressed frustration with the insensitive comments that many of the fans post.
“Some will say ‘No one cares’ or ‘Grow some balls,’” Sheehan said. “I honestly get mad when I see comments like that.”
In addition, I saw many confessions seeking advice for loneliness, depression or adjusting to college life, which is hard for everyone to admit to themselves, let alone an entire group of strangers. It was on these posts that I saw comments such as “This isn’t therapy,” or “Get a life, loser” or some even as nasty as “You might as well kill yourself.”
It’s all fine and well by me if you want to act like a complete jerk, but I believe people are always accountable for what they say. So, with your name right next to a horrible comment suggesting suicide, you ought to think twice before posting it. To everyone that reads it, that degrading comment makes you look like an overgrown, attention-starved 5-year-old.
Another thing most of us might forget is we may know the anonymous person confessing about serious issues. All I’m suggesting we do is be more aware of the vulnerability that comes with confessing honest suffering. Having said that, let’s keep the hilarious drunken shenanigans coming. Lord knows everyone needs a laugh every day.