The internet today is full of cute puppies, silly kittens and all around warm fuzzies, those things that make you go “awww.” The craze has hit Lawrence with the Lawrence Compliments page on Facebook. It may not be cute puppies, but the sweet things people say about each other can still make even the toughest person smile.
Finding inspiration in other school’s pages and the general boredom that accompanies the six-week Lawrence winter break, the person behind the computer screen decided to bring this trend to Lawrence. The main intention was to brighten people’s days and, as the creator puts it, to engage in “a nice little altruistic exercise,” which he/she feels has been successful.
Not only does the page brighten students’ days, it also has an air of mystery. The creator has purposefully kept himself/herself anonymous.
The creator of the page said, “I feel that if people knew my true identity it would ruin the magic for some people, and that is a main motivation for me to remain anonymous.”
Well, according to the creator only a couple Lawrentians know the truth and of course his/her mom. Despite the occasional hint, the creator never plans to reveal his/her true identity.
Lawrence Compliments appears to be the originator of a new trend on Facebook, which now includes the controversial Lawrence Secrets and the lesser-known Lawrence Like-a-Little. Within what seemed to be a few days, notifications and friend requests filled the home pages of many Lawrentians. Now with 717 friends, the page reaches approximately 50 percent of the student population at Lawrence.
These other pages that have joined the phenomenon also share the distinct anonymous characteristic. One possibility is that the same person has created all of the pages. However, the creator of Lawrence Compliments has denied that hypothesis by saying, “I have no idea who runs all of the other Lawrence Facebook pages. Just like everyone else, I wish I did!”
With such a quick response to Compliments by the other creators and their pages, they all have to now share the limelight. The creator of Compliments said, “I’m not going to lie, at first I was slightly unhappy that they’ve stolen my thunder! But I got over it quickly.”
Although the pages follow a similar theme of allowing Lawrentians to share their feelings anonymously, the overall tone and acceptance of the pages differ. Lawrence Secrets has become controversial and one might even say a bit infamous.
The Compliments creator stated, “I was also worried that Lawrence University Secrets would be a sort of ‘burn book.’ Sometimes it’s just complaining; other times I can see how it would be cathartic for people.”
The response to the Lawrence Compliments Facebook page from Lawrence students has generally ranged from indifferent to positive. However, many students did mention that some students may feel bad if they do not get complimented.
Sophomore Neal Falletta-Cowden felt, “The Lawrence Compliments page is a way for people to express unspoken thoughts and feelings which can be a good thing because it promotes positivity but negative in that it does not distribute positivity equally among Lawrentians.”
Freshman Abby LaBrant had similar feelings when she said, “It’s a nice way to recognize people, but the feeling of not getting a compliment ever is kind of an insult in itself,” but she also added, “It’s not usually on my radar, and I wouldn’t notice if the page suddenly disappeared.”
Junior Dani Glass said, “I had seen friends in other schools with a page like this, and I when read about the Lawrence Compliments page I was skeptical that it wasn’t going to be taken seriously. It is a way for a nice thing to be done without people having to go out of their way to do it.”
The Lawrence students who have been lucky enough to be complimented have also had positive feelings about the experience.
Junior Phillip Jindra said, “I was pretty excited. Over winter break I saw a lot of people getting complimented, and I wanted to get complimented too. Eventually someone did compliment me, which was cool. I have no idea who did it.”
The creator of the page said, “I love comments from the ‘complimentees’ saying how touched they are.” He/she believes that that is a sign that the page is a success.
Overall the Lawrence Compliments page is a positive influence on the students at Lawrence. It is always nice after a long day of classes to open up Facebook and find a sweet notification from an anonymous admirer.
It goes the other way, too. Students complimenting others, even if it has to be done anonymously, can make themselves feel better by brightening the days of their fellow Lawrentians.