Campus Confessions: What do you have to say?

“Each time the barista at the Starbucks in the SUB asks for a name to put on my drink, I respond with a different, ethnically improbable name, even though I get the same drink at the same time every day.” – #1384

This is one of over 1,300 posts on UBC Confessions, the Facebook page where UBC students are spilling their guts about their latest crushes, Translink contentions, lustful run-ins and other amusing campus antics. Confessions pages are among the more recent social media trends amongst high school and university students, with pages for almost every major university in the world popping up online. Confessions pages are reminiscent of the PostSecret Project and Craigslist’s missed connections page, as they serve as an outlet for individuals to anonymously share personal truths and messages that they wouldn’t normally share with others. The main difference is that confessions pages are specific to certain schools or institutions, such as the UBC Confessions page, which chronicles submissions from UBC students and campus affiliates exclusively. 

UBC Confessions2Though the majority of content on confessions pages tends to be innocent quips and stories about amusing campus escapades, these pages have been criticized as a severe breach of privacy and a potential platform for cyber bullying. Typically, confessions pages are structured so that submissions are sent to page administrators using a Google Form, which allows confessors to send in messages completely anonymously, without having to provide any identifying information, such as their Facebook accounts or email addresses. The administrator then reviews the anonymous submissions and manually posts content to his or her respective page. Though confession pages are tied to specific institutions and schools, they are shared publicly on Facebook so that anyone with a Facebook account has the ability to read, ‘like’, and comment on the posts.

The UBC Confessions administrator has been careful not to share any derogatory or targeted messages to the Facebook page. UBC’s page operates a little differently from most as it does not utilize a third party form or survey to ensure anonymity, rather, it receives submissions through direct Facebook messages, allowing the administrator to see the Facebook profiles of each confessor. The mystery admin has ensured posters that their identities will remain anonymous online, but sent out a disclaimer last month that he or she will be reporting all posts regarding self-harm and suicide to the UBC Mental Health Network  who will decide upon appropriate action. 

It seems that the direction of confessions pages is largely determined by the page administrator. It is up to this individual to carefully review the posts and use their best judgement in determining whether or not the submission should be shared online. In my opinion, UBC Confessions is an excellence source of comic relief, entertainment, and community building; it provides students with the ability to share their experiences with UBC students, and to laugh, vent, cry, and nod along to community confessions that hit close to home.

Have you ever submitted a post or comment to a Confessions page? Why or why not? Do you think that these sites promote community or are a platform for bullying?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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One response to “Campus Confessions: What do you have to say?”

  1. nariman muldashev

    The purpose of this post is only for the completion of an assignment.
    I have personally never posted anything specifically on the UBC Confessions Facebook page but I am quite fond of it. It is good way for people to share their thoughts, doubts, motivations and also occasional hilarious stories. Previously, I have posted my opinion on a certain issues of my country’s domestic policies on a similar website and received a lot of thoughtful and informative comments on it. I certainly think that the content of these pages is not only entertaining but define the culture of an institution as long as the administrator makes sure to review and filter the posts.

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