Facebook Compliments: The Virtual Snap Cup

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Some of you may remember Elle Woods’ famous “snap cup” jingle from Legally Blonde 2, but just in case your knowledge of the Legally Blonde franchise is not as in-depth as mine, I’ll refresh your memory: “Pass it to your neighbor instead of blowing up, and we’ll find harmony and love in the snap cup!” 

Today’s snap cups come in the form of “college compliments” pages, created on Facebook by students at universities all over the country. Many of them have gained immense popularity over relatively short periods of time, especially ones at Boston College, University of Southern California and Hamilton Compliments.

Most compliments pages have a similar format: students can ‘like’ the page on Facebook, submit a compliment to administrators via inbox, see their compliment posted on the page a few days later and then tag the person being complimented.

An administrator of the Boston College Compliments page, Diana H., notes that they created the page on Dec. 2, and in a little over a month the page has already garnered 1,774 likes – the equivalent of roughly 20% of BC’s undergraduate population.

Hamilton’s page was created on November 15 and already has 1,309 likes, while USC’s page has gained 4,349 likes since its creation on November 26.

“In one day we got over 1,000 likes,” USC’s page administrator remembers, “and in two days over 2,000.”

As individual compliments pages grow in popularity, administrators are flooded with more and more messages each day, and pages for other universities continue to spring up.

“Really I made the page because I saw that Trinity had one,” said Hamilton’s page administrator. “Knowing the nature of the internet and how things explode I just wanted to be the person to bring that to Hamilton because it was such an inherently good idea – who doesn't like complimenting people?”

As these pages spread throughout the virtual universe, so does their message of considerateness and kindness. Compliments pages may even be good for admissions.

“A lot of prospective students have sent us messages saying that they check the page because it makes them happy to see how positive people are and to see that we truly are a Trojan Family,” noted the USC page administrator. “It makes them want to come to USC even more.”

The idea is simple, and yet the impact has been noticeable and refreshingly upbeat. Facebook, whether we intend it to or not, can sometimes foster exclusion, negative judgments and an unhealthy amount of self-comparison to others.

“It helped shift Facebook from a platform for mindless scrolling and trolling to a place to find some good hearted people sharing compliments with each other,” stated Hamilton’s page administrator. “I seriously believe it's made Facebook a better experience for people.”

While it may be hard to imagine that a Facebook page could have a significant impact on someone’s life, the proof is in the pudding. In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings and in the midst of exam week, BC Compliments posted the following message they had received from a student:

“I am from Newtown, CT. A former student of Sandy Hook Elementary. There is nothing I want more right now than to be home with my family, friends, and community during this awful time but unfortunately I can't. I am so thankful for the BC community for helping me and my town through this horrific event. I couldn't ask for a better place to be than on a campus filled with love and support. Thank you Boston College.”

 

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