Facebook Compliments Pages
In the autumn of 2012, a social media trend was to take the American college campuses by storm. This cyber fad came in the form of Facebook Compliments Pages. The origins of the Facebook Compliments Pages trend have been traced back to four students at Queens University in Kingston, Canada. The quadruplet set up a Facebook page entitled Queens U Compliments.
They then went on to encourage their fellow students to join the group. From the group, classmates were able to anonymously submit compliments about their fellows. These compliments were then posted onto the Facebook Compliments Pages newsfeed and could then be viewed publically.
When asked about the origin of the page, one of the co-founders, Jessica Jonker, stated it was purely in the hope of spreading positivity. In the interview she explained, “We thought it would be an awesome project to spread happiness and positivity to the Queen’s community.” The page received high levels of success from the outset. Jonker vividly remembers logging onto the page just days after the page was established. She was shocked to find over 200 notifications and friend requests. “I think that was the moment when we actually thought, “Wow”, we might actually be onto something here!”
By the end of that semester, the page had almost reached its 5000 friend allowance. A further 100 new requests were being received each day. Facebook was selected as the social media platform to approach for this concept. There were two main reasons behind the decision. Firstly, as a platform, Facebook provided the easily way to reach the majority of their target audience. Secondly, the platform also allowed the initial four to remain anonymous as administrators. “It has been really fun to see and hear firsthand how much QUC has become an integral part of the Queen’s community.” Jonker recently told Mashable in an interview. However, she points out that the project also highlighted “how much of an impact one single compliment can have on a person’s life.”
The trend was quick to catch on. Other colleges throughout Canada now have relevant Facebook Compliments Pages.
Two students at Brown University launched a Compliments Page for their university in November 2012. William Jannover was one of these. In an interview with Mashable he explained why the page was set up. “We launched right before Thanksgiving and the holidays, when everyone is typically in the spirit of being kind and showing gratitude toward one another. We also felt that with final exams around the corner, a positive forum would be a good way to make someone’s day during a particularly stressful time.”
The equivalent page at Stony Brook University gained over 300 likes in the page’s opening hours. The page received an anonymous compliment about Zamir Miah. This was the man who, at the time, worked the overnight shift at the Dunkin’ Donuts on the campus. The comment read: The Bengali man working at Dunkin’ Donuts on 25A is by far the nicest and most generous man I’ve ever purchased something from. Every time I order something, he automatically upgrades it or throws in a few extra donuts or muffins and never charges extra for them. He’s always working alone at night but is still extremely friendly. I’ve always wanted to approach him or give him an anonymous note, and I wish there was a way that multiple Stony Brook students can get together and give back to him — because I’m sure he does this for everyone as well, and does it with a smile on his face.”
The single post sparked a conversation about Miah. The conversation centred around how much he had done for various students during his work. The result was that nearly 60 students united to surprise him with an “Epic Thank You”.
They gave him handwritten thank you cars. In addition to this, they gave him a $400 tip which Dunkin’ Donuts doubled to make a total of $800. The trend, which has since been named “cyber graciousness”, has taken the world by storm. At the time of writing, there are now over 130 individual student “Compliment” Pages and profiles on the platform.
Each of these pages is full of recognition for the talents and attributes of individual members of their respective communities. Daniel Amadizadeh, the founder of the Stony Brooks Compliments Page, alluded to the potential of social media which these pages presented. “Social media has the ability to transform essentially everything,” Ahmadizadeh stated. “It can bring crowds together to achieve one same mission: to empower people to spread kindness.”