Can’t get enought of ND Confessions
Maddie Daly | Tuesday, April 2, 2013
All right, Notre Dame. This is about to get personal. Because of the new Facebook and Twitter pages, I can’t go a single hour without hearing someone laughing over the most recent post or trying to guess who confession #346 is. Our campus has been taken over by “ND Confessions,” a social media outlet for all those dirty little secrets we are too embarrassed to ever say out loud, much less attach our names to. We have allowed this website to take over our conversations and reveal things about each other that we probably never needed to know. The site exploded last week, getting over 9,000 messages and only being able to post less than 400 – because of the lack of time, I’m assuming. I mean, whoever you are running this page, you have dug yourself into a very deep hole. This is a full-time job, and the entire campus is watching you. It’s like our very own Gossip Girl. Am I the only one who wants to know who’s behind it all?
If you’re unfamiliar with the Facebook page, it works like an anonymous diary where anyone can submit posts that are then weeded through and reposted if they make the cut. To keep everything completely anonymous, instead of messaging ND Confessions through an inbox, you submit your post to a Google Drive survey. If you’re lucky, your confession will be juicy enough to be reposted for the entirety of Facebook to see. As mentioned earlier, there is also a Twitter account, but it has been widely overshadowed by the later yet more active Facebook page. With only 169 tweets and around 1,200 followers, @NDConfessions cowers in comparison to the nearly 400 posts and 3,800 subscribers to the Facebook account. But don’t worry, Twitter ND Confessions, I still follow you. Keep posting; you know we can’t get enough.
Minus the April Fool’s Day joke the anonymous Facebook master posted Monday morning, the site has been posting nonstop basically all week straight. How you decide which confessions to post is beyond me, but there is an even mix of funny and serious posts. On the one hand, you have students confessing their biggest fears, hidden problems and true thoughts about the school and certain students. The comments for the most part remind me how caring and responsible students here are. Several comments include help lines and groups on campus that address whatever problem was confessed. I am proud of my school when I see those honest, heart-breaking posts with hundreds of likes and comments showing genuine support and concern.
On the complete other end of the spectrum you have the ridiculous and almost unbelievable posts about dirty, ridiculous, crazy, embarrassing and mostly hilarious things that happen to people here. There is basically no filter when it comes to what gets posted on this page. In my opinion, it’s a judge-free zone where we can get everything off our chests without anyone ever knowing it was us. Go ahead, post it. No one will ever know it was you, and you get that feeling of satisfaction when you hear people laughing at your post (well, as long as you are ready to laugh at yourself for whatever you did).
However, the comments have proven otherwise. Scathing remarks have been made about some of the posts, which in my opinion are completely undeserved. We all mess up and do stupid things, and the whole point of the page is to get them out and maybe make a few people laugh along the way. Name-calling is simply not necessary. And also, some of the comments are coming from people who either aren’t college students at all or from people who don’t even go here. Seriously, we should at least be able to freely express our embarrassing experiences with our classmates without worrying about outside intervention.
Now, Notre Dame is not the only school that has succumbed to this college fad. My friends at schools all across the country, both public and private, have similar sites which, according to them, are “so much better” than ours. I’d like to hear the criteria for “better,” because in my head I hear “more explicit” and “overly sexual.” In my opinion, there are some pretty scandalous confessions on our page. I’m shocked people get away with the shenanigans they post about. That being said, I do have to wonder if some of them are exaggerated or even completely made up. Some just seem too ridiculous to be true.
Whoever came up with the idea of a confessions page for college students, I congratulate you. The day the site really blew up, my friends and I stayed up half the night reading the funniest posts out loud, dying of laughter and craving more posts, as well as trying to come up with something original to post about ourselves. The entire campus was buzzing about it the next day, and in every one of my classes I overheard conversations repeating posted confessions. Whoever you are, ND Confessions, you are arguably one of the most famous figures on this campus, at least for now. If only we knew who you were.
Coincidentally, I am nearly finished with the sixth season of “Gossip Girl,” a show with several parallels to the phenomenon happening here on campus concerning social media. The characters on the show have placed all their trust and focus on this one site, Gossip Girl, which posts anonymous comments about the popular kids of the Upper East Side, some of which are true and some of which are completely made up. Most of the posts are negative, degrading and pure rumors, but they all have the capability to destroy the lives of their subjects.
This show and the hype surrounding ND Confessions demonstrate just how powerful social media can be. Clearly the series is exaggerated and overdramatic, but the same theme remains: Our generation is so connected to the internet that we will allow something as little as an anonymous Facebook page to rule our conversations and consume an absurd amount of our time. What do we find so intriguing about reading secrets from other people’s lives? Why do we laugh at stories involving injuries, drunken mishaps and lying? I think the answer has something to do with the fact that we are living vicariously through this page. Have you ever read a post and thought to yourself, “Why have I never done that?” or “Man, I wish I could get away with doing that”? I’m just as guilty as the rest. I like to pretend I do things as crazy and carefree as (some of) the people posting on that page, but I know that’s simply not realistic. If there is one good thing to take away from this page, it’s to be yourself. Don’t worry about what other people think, and more importantly, don’t try to be someone you’re not. And if you made it onto the page, you deserve a round of applause. I’m up there with you – but which one am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell. You know you love me, xoxo…
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
Contact Maddie Daly at firstname.lastname@example.org