If you’ve logged onto Facebook recently, chances are you’ve seen a Haverford Compliments status pop up on your news feed. The account has been posting compliments about members of the Haverford community sent by anonymous contributors since it was created on November 24. With over 600 friends already, the account has posted roughly 300 feel-good messages so far.
Haverford Compliments is one of many Facebook accounts aiming to spread virtual kindness throughout college campuses. The movement reportedly began on September 12 at Queen’s University, in Ontario, Canada, according to Time magazine. In the following weeks, many other schools starting launching their own Compliments accounts, including Brown, Tulane, Columbia, Princeton, and Yale.
The anonymous administrator of the Haverford Compliments account told The Clerk that the Compliments movement “struck me as a really meaningful yet simple way to facilitate the spread of positive energy” on a high-stress campus. Haverford Compliments initially reached out by friending scores of Haverford students, before students began to friend the account themselves. By November 29, somewhere between 200 and 250 messages had been received. Of those, 15 were deemed inappropriate and were not published.
Haverford Compliments’ posts range from simple and sincere to hilarious. Posts that, for example, say a student is is “one of the best, coolest, smartest people in the whole world” are posted alongside statuses that call another “a unicorn goddess of sparkles and joy.” To provide greater anonymity and encourage more submissions, Haverford Compliments recently created a form that allows senders to be anonymous to the three people managing the Compliments page as well.
Haverford Compliments has also inspired a Haverford Backhanded Compliments account, whose About Me section states that “this is your forum to send out that anonymous insult only vaguely covered by a compliment.” Examples of statuses include, “So I guess you really liked the food when you were abroad?” and “You look so nice! You must have your senior portrait today!” Unlike Haverford Compliments, the Backhanded posts are general statements and no specific person is tagged in them.
Haverford Compliments and the broader university Compliments movement has inspired mixed feelings among students.
“You should just tell people how you feel instead of bragging about your friends on Facebook, when they’re probably sitting right next to you,” says Mary Williams ’13. However, others, such as sophomore Tori Kranz ‘15, “like the anonymity and the lack of obligation.”
In general, students seem to have responded positively to Haverford Compliments’ stated mission: to make people happy.
“Anonymity tends to lead to bad things online, but when its done for good, it’s nice to know it can have positive effects,” Pola Lem ‘13 puts it.