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The Blue & Gray Press | August 15, 2018

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Compliments page enlivens social media

By SUZANNA TOSKEumw-compliments

Two University of Mary Washington students recently created a Facebook page called UMW Compliments, on which students can anonymously post compliments about other students.

According to one of the creators of the page, UMW Compliments is “a new form of letting the people close to you know how much you appreciate them.”

The UMW Compliments creators are keen on preserving their anonymity. Though a few close friends know who they are, they have promised to keep their secret.

“It’s hard not to smile when people are talking about it [UMW Compliments],” said one of the creators. “It’s hard to act like we don’t know.”

The group page was created during late November and early December of 2012 and is based on a friend from another school’s idea, in the hopes of bringing students together through social media.

The creators enjoyed this idea so much that they decided to create something that was more UMW-oriented.

“I thought Mary Washington would be a supporting community for [UMW Compliments],” said one of the creators.

The group functions entirely on private messages submitted by UMW students with a Facebook account. In a message, a student can post anything he or she desires. However, the creators of UMW Compliments can ask the student to rephrase his or her compliment if it seems inappropriate, which rarely happens according to the creators.

They then take the message and post it as one of the statuses on the page, tagging the receiving student’s name along with it.

So far, 1,440 UMW students are friends with the UMW Compliments group, which is 27 percent of all UMW students.

“I think that UMW Compliments is a great way to leave anonymous compliments for people,” said Anthony Sieppel, junior English major. “It’s really a special thing to have someone leave one for you; a simple gesture that can make someone’s day that takes no time at all.”

Shannon Clunie, sophomore Spanish major, also enjoys the new group.

“I think it’s cute. I really like that they ignore mean or rude comments. It’s really cool.”

The creators check their Facebook page for any new compliments to post every day.

Although UMW Compliments is becoming more commonly known and liked throughout UMW, the Facebook page still encounters some difficulties, including Facebook’s security and rules.

Lately, they have added as many students as possible in order to tag the recipients, but Facebook limited them on how many people they could add. If they exceeded the specified amount, Facebook’s security would think UMW Compliments was a scam and forbid it to add anyone else until 30 days had passed.

Recently the creators posted a status asking students not to block UMW Compliments, as Facebook’s security will interfere.

“We’re trying to be a positive influence on the social media,” said one of the creators.

After both creators graduate from UMW in the future, they’ve considered recruiting a freshman to take over the page. They hope that more than one individual will run the page because it’s a lot to handle and it will be easier to bounce off ideas between each other.

“It’s not really about who runs it [UMW Compliments],” said one of the creators. “It’s about the students at Mary Washington doing things for one another.”

Freshman Kelsey Myatt thinks the page is a good way to brighten someone’s day.

“I saw it and thought it was really cute,” said Myatt. “I used it maybe twice to compliment my friends.”