Student shout-out page furthers social experiment

Members of the ASU community can send anonymous compliments to their peers on the Facebook page ASU Compliments. Since the page launched on Nov. 27, the page has garnered more than 1,300 likes. (Photo by Jessie Wardarski)

Members of the ASU community can anonymously write kind messages about one another on the Facebook page ASU Compliments.

More than 1,300 people have liked the page in the six days since it was founded.

The social experiment began in September at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, and has spread to more than 50 universities worldwide.

Psychology sophomore Molly McElenney decided to start the page when she saw similar trends at other universities.

Students send personal messages to the page and McElenney posts them anonymously on ASU Compliments’ wall.

The page has received more than 100 compliments per day since it went live Nov. 27.

These anonymous comments compliment everything from personality to appearance.

One compliment posted to the site said, “To Seth McManus: Your positive outlook does a world of good for everyone at ASU. Keep smiling – it’s contagious.”

All the messages have been positive, McElenney said.

“I’ve had no problems so far,” she said. “It’s been really successful, and everybody’s been so kind.”

The compliments can make someone’s day, McElenney said.

“It’s a full-time hobby, but I really enjoy it,” she said. “I’m going to keep doing it as long as people send compliments.”

McElenney said she hopes ASU Compliments continues to grow.

“ASU is such a large place, and sometimes people have a hard time finding others to become friends with,” she said. “This is a way to realize they’re in a place where they have support and are loved.”

Global studies and business administration sophomore Kaitlyn Fitzgerald saw her name in an anonymous compliment last week.

Fitzgerald, the student director at Changemaker Central, said she was pleasantly surprised.

The compliment came from someone who saw her give a presentation about Changemaker Central.

“It was nice to hear it actually impacted someone,” Fitzgerald said. “And it made me feel excited next time I gave a presentation.”

ASU Compliments allows students to recognize those who serve others, Fitzgerald said.

“It’s a positive use of Facebook,” she said. “This could lead to more people going out of their way to be nice to each other.”

English literature junior Nate Peach said the page could potentially combat cyber bullying.

“These days, the Internet seems to do more bad than good,” he said. “This is a simple thing you could do to reverse that.”

ASU Compliments positively impacts the community, Peach said.

“If more things like this happen, less horrible things like bullying are likely to happen,” he said.

Chemical engineering sophomore John Couvaras heard about the page after his friend received a compliment.

Anonymity in the compliments is necessary, Couvaras said.

“It gives people the freedom and courage to say what they would really like to say,” he said.

Finance sophomore Esther Adusei said people should be courageous face-to-face, not just online.

“I would like to see people complimenting one another in person,” she said. “There should be no fear.”

Adusei said the concept of the page is good, but the hype may fade out quickly.

“It’s nice what they are trying to do, but if they don’t provide incentives for people to keep sending compliments, it could disappear pretty fast,” she said.

Business communication junior Julia Stevens said there is a reason behind the need for anonymity.

“People are guarded,” she said. “The anonymity gives them a safe zone. That’s why it’s so popular.”

The promise of anonymity drives people to write the compliments, Stevens said.

“It’s positive that the compliments show people what others genuinely feel about them, but the anonymity of the Internet is the only forum for that to continue,” she said.

 

Reach the reporter at dpbaltaz@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @dpalomabp