While some may still prefer scribbling their innermost thoughts in diaries and journals, the Internet has even changed the way people share secrets. Websites and forums where people can make confessions online—anonymously—are growing in popularity, particularly among college students and young adults.
Many people are guilty of sharing way TMI (too much information) on Facebook and other social media platforms. Does the whole world really need to know the details of your stomach flu or see 15 incredibly similar photos of the chocolate chip cookies you baked for your oh-so-sweet significant other? Most likely the answer is no. Vague status updates are almost as bad. Statements like “Sigh…” and “I can’t believe WHAT SHE DID to me AGAIN!” beg for attention and questions from “friends.”
Sharing secrets online is an alternative that may help you get things off your chest while saving your friends and family members from being on the receiving end. PostSecret, which began in 2005, allows users to make confessions on homemade postcards and submit them via snail mail. The site’s founder, Frank Warren, selects ten postcards to feature on the website each week.
These secret postcards are intended to give people a creative way to get things off their chests while inspiring those who read them. Common topics and themes include embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams for the future, fears, and even criminal confessions. Warren regularly hosts events at colleges and universities across the world, where he speaks about secrets of today’s society and thousands of postcards are displayed.
For young adults who are too impatient to turn their confessions and secrets into artwork and mail it to a website where it may or may not be displayed, College Confessions Facebook pages, where students can submit confessions that are posted by page administrators, are springing up for schools across the country.
Recent secrets shared on the Tufts University confessions page, which has over 1,300 likes, include:
The administrator of Tufts University’s confessions page, whose name was not revealed in the article, told Inside Higher Ed that nearly all secrets are posted as long as they are not mean about a specific person. Other confessions, while not rude or harmful, mention specific students by name and others quickly tag that person in an effort to make them aware of the message.
Although the administrator for the University of New Mexico’s confessions Facebook page told Inside Higher Ed that these pages and similar websites are growing in popularity because they are specific to a particular college or university and the confessions tend to be “funny and entertaining” rather than serious, most administrators aren’t thrilled with online confessions pages, which are not officially affiliated with the schools.
Heather Trepal, an associate professor of counseling at University of Texas at San Antonio, told MySanAntonio that while some students may feel a sense of connection or catharsis from reading and posting online confessions, they are more entertaining than anything. She also warned that the sites could lead to cyberbullying.
And as if students don’t already spend enough time on Facebook, confessions pages may also lead to a decreased interest in academics—some students told MySanAntonio that they no longer want to study in the library after reading secrets online about sexual encounters that occurred there.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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