By: Brigitte Berry
Many people have experienced or witnessed some form of cyber bullying. It is a social epidemic, hiding behind a computer screen to belittle others because it is easier to do than in real life. Facebook is a common medium for this form of bullying – but what if that same medium was used to oppose it?
A Facebook profile called Algonquin Compliments was created by a student, which allows classmates to hide behind the anonymity of their computers, not to put people down but rather to praise them.
The idea began at Queen’s University in September and was adapted by Algonquin a couple months later to spread the kindness throughout the college. It allows students to anonymously compliment someone specific by private message, which is then posted as the group’s status.
The creator was motivated to start the account because they wanted to spread kindness and brighten people’s days. “I enjoy making people smile and be happy,” they said after excusing themselves for sounding “cheesy”.
“I think it’s a great idea. To have something like this where you can post something positive about people and maybe just brighten their day a little bit is awesome,” said Anna Paul, a second-year massage therapy student and resident advisor who received her own anonymous compliment.
When Paul received the compliment she said it made her “feel pretty good”. She also admitted to sending several anonymous compliments herself.
The Facebook profile was created by an Algonquin student who enlisted the help of two friends to help manage the account.
The anonymous aspect of the initiative is key. Not only is the identity of the admirer never revealed but the creators of the account also remain unknown. Even after being approached by several sources, including Algonquin, they refused to reveal their identities.
“It defies the purpose of the compliments page and will deter students from using it,” said the creator. They wish to encourage students to use it and don’t want them to feel uncomfortable.
“To quote Mother Teresa, ‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless’,” said the creator of the Facebook profile.
These words of wisdom proved true when Jordan Lowden received her compliment when she was having a bad day. “It actually made me feel better,” said Lowden, a first-year early childhood education student.
As of Feb. 11, the Facebook account has 851 friends and growing. However, the managers of the site sometimes have to deal with complications. In order to prevent spam, Facebook temporarily blocks accounts when the same feature is used repeatedly in a short period of time. This proves difficult for the nature of the profile when they try to add as many friends as they can. Other than that the creators say the site is going well and they hope for it to continue growing.