By Nicholas Hodge

Rebecca Snider, Katie Tilly, and Kristy McCullough, all enrolled in early childhood education peek around a copy of the Algonquin Times. Each is familiar with the Spotted at Algonquin page on Facebook.

If you’ve been trying to get the attention of someone special around campus, there’s a page on Facebook that may be able to help you.

Spotted at Algonquin is the largest virtual community of Algonquin students. The Facebook page, affiliated with the college only in name, has been liked by over 5,600 people.

Users are invited to send private messages to the mysterious owner of Spotted who then posts them anonymously for all to read.

And while nobody knows who the administrator is, it’s clear that most comments are meant to break the ice with strangers that go to the college.

For example, one message posted on Feb. 2 read, “To the cute paramedic, the one who always caught my eye near the school of media and design, how’s it going hot stuff?”

Users sometimes comment in response to the anonymous messages. The responses will usually either be because the person thinks the message is about them, it may be someone they know, or is meant to criticize the content of the message.

“I don’t think anyone’s gone through with actually meeting,” said Rebecca Snider, a child and youth worker student who frequently participates on the page.

“People have commented and tagged somebody in it that they think is them. But, other than that, I don’t think anyone’s actually successfully made a connection through it.”

Snider, along with her classmates Katie Tilly and Kristy McCullough, enjoys Spotted for its entertainment value. She has sent a message to Spotted but only in an attempt to discourage negative comments that had been directed at her.

“It was mainly just telling somebody to stop bothering me,” she said.

The content of the page has diversified with its growing popularity. Users will now post encouraging messages for members of their program, submit poems, advertise events or use it as a lost and found.

“It’s funnier though when it’s about people because then you can use it and be like ‘Oh, I wonder who that person is’ or ‘I know them,’” said Tilly.

Recently Spotted has been a forum for debate between city-lovers and country-lovers.

“This whole country versus city battle needs to stop,” Snider said. “I don’t care where you’re from, you are going to Algonquin. We should all get along here. This needs to end, it’s so annoying at this point.”

There is one specific phrase that is remarkably prevalent in the discourse on Spotted. “The thirst is real.”

It is commonly said to criticize those that are too overt about trying to get a date by using Spotted. The statement is controversial and some view it as a sexist remark towards women.

“The thirst is a sense of desperation,” explained Tilly.

“When you say the thirst is real, that person’s pretty desperate,” said McCullough. “Somebody get this person some water.”

Spotted, which was founded in 2012, shows no sign of slowing down.

New messages are posted on a daily basis.

Spotted at Carleton U, the page that Spotted at Algonquin was inspired by, has over 10,200 likes.

Seen at Algonquin College 2013-2014, a page that uses the same format at Spotted, has more than 2,600 likes.

The person that runs Spotted remains a secret.

Interview requests were declined as the administration did not want to be interviewed for this story.

While the administrator is anonymous they are the only person that knows who sent the messages posted on the page.

“They know everybody’s business,” said Tilly.