Social media page becomes campus “Gossip Girl”

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By Sean Robinson, Reporter

“Dear guy sitting across from me in the library on the bottom floor wearing a red jacket, you should come over and say hi- sincerely, a shy girl.”

This message is just one of the countless confessions of love found on UNO Crushes, a Facebook page and Twitter feed where anonymous admissions of attraction are posted on the networks by UNO students. Despite the pages’ anonymity, hundreds upon hundreds of students have been liking and retweeting UNO Crushes’ most scandalous posts, creating a social buzz around the campus and becoming the university’s own “Gossip Girl.”

The operator or operators of the sites have remained anonymous, controlling the pages’ content by having students privately send in their “crushes” and then publicly posting them on the page without revealing who wrote the love letter. From there, let Cupid’s arrows soar.

“I think the sites are as popular as they are because people use social media for fun and games, and that’s exactly what UNO Crushes is,” said Katy Salinas, a sophomore speech language pathology major at UNO. “I don’t think anybody is taking the posts too seriously.”

Whether the sites are taken seriously may be debatable; however, their popularity is undisputable. With 911 followers on Twitter, UNO crushes has nearly seven times the amount of follower as UNO Orientation’s page and one-third the amount UNO Athletics has garnered.

Currently the site has more than 600 likes on Facebook, but its popularity soared three weeks ago when the site was first launched, surpassing the number of people who like UNO Student Government on Facebook by gaining well over 1,000 likes in just two days. Since then, the original site was deactivated and a new one with 600 likes appeared.

“The sites are currently running on momentum right now,” said Hunter Thompson, a senior at UNO. “When they first came out of the gate, everybody talked about their posts, so their popularity grew really fast. I think now they will plateau with the number of followers and eventually become a passing fad.”

Besides the sites losing their initial momentum, another reason they could begin to lose traction is the vulgarity of its content. While some posts are as innocent as “Girl in HPER, marry me,” others are a tad less family friendly, like  “Babe in my math class, I’d drink your dirty bath water.”

“It only took a few days for the sites to become really creepy,” Thompson said. “Now it has become like a combination between Craigslist Missed Connections and ‘To Catch A Predator.'”

The uncensored, and by many people’s standards, inappropriate content of UNO Crushes contradicts the otherwise very polished social media campaign the university’s official Twitter feed and Facebook page has produced.

“I don’t think UNO Crushes necessarily portrays the university in a negative light, but it’s not entirely positive either,” said Stephanie Montgomery, marketing intern with UNO’s Office of University Communications. “There are definitely some comments people leave that shouldn’t be said. Overall, though, I think it’s just a funny way to get your crush out.”

Montgomery said her office isn’t concerned with UNO Crushes ruining the campus’ image. No attempts to shut the pages down have been made or are in the works but administration is aware and looks at them to an extent.

“I don’t think it’s going to give UNO an image problem because it’s not really associated with the campus in any way,” Salinas said. “Honestly, a lot of the content is fake and just jokes between friends.”

UNO Crushes is hardly the first site to make light of the university or the daily struggles students face. Moreover, UNO isn’t the only school to be targeted by this latest social media trend. Both UNL Crushes and UNK Crushes were born hours before UNO students received their own page to secretly pour their hearts out on.

“It’s all just junk humor, and a fun way to keep entertained on social media and find out what’s going on at the university,” Thompson said. “For now, it’s all harmless.”
 

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