Missed Connections Attempts to Help Awkward Students

If the success of “Swarthmore Compliments” and “Like a Little” are anything to go by, Swatties love interacting with each other through anonymous virtual media. While the former allows students to anonymously post praise for their friends on a Facebook group, the latter is a site that can be used by students to reach out to other students they find attractive.

On Jan. 17, a new Facebook group was created as yet another such medium for “Swawkward” communication. As of now, the group has not yet received much student attention. It currently has 37 likes and two anonymous posts.

The student behind the group chooses to remain anonymous to avoid compromising its purpose. She described Swarthmore Missed Connections as “a mixture of Swarthmore Compliments and Like a Little.” The group’s goal is to enable people who had a chance encounter or are otherwise afraid to approach one another to find each other and possibly meet.

The creator thought of the group as an alternative to Swarthmore Compliments. “Compliments turned into the same compliment over and over again. With Missed Connections, it’s exciting to think that a post is maybe kind of possibly about you,” she said.

The group’s description on Facebook lists some details that should be included in posts, including location, description of the addressee and a nickname or description of the poster.

The founder of the group decided to start it for a number of reasons. She wanted to revive the cute, awkward energy of Swarthmore Compliments and Like a Little with some improvements. She was referring to the temporary problems with the Like a Little site that have since been fixed.

Talking about the role such groups and sites play in the lives of Swatties, she noted that “it’s not just about being too shy. We lead stressful lives and the possibility of having someone crush on you or just receiving anonymous praise can be a great confidence boost.”

The creator of Swarthmore Compliments agreed with the sentiment of such groups being confidence boosters and stress relievers, but he drew a distinction between the two groups. “Compliments wasn’t really about the posters’ anonymity. That wasn’t a big part of it.”

He pointed out that Missed Connections was probably more dependent on anonymity since it deals with messages that are not limited to platonic praise. “I guess if people trust the person behind the group to not spread their identity around and talk to their friends, then it could work,” he said.

The founder of Missed Connections concurred. “It would be really uncomfortable for people to know who was on the other end,” she said, referring to both her identity and the posters’.

However, Facebook is not a medium that provides easy anonymity, a flaw the founder of Missed Connections is aware of. “You can’t have aliases since it’s a Facebook group and not a website. So you can’t respond to comments,” she said.

She encourages posters to be creative with their responses. The group’s description includes the following example as a possible response to a post: “Set up a meeting place — ‘I’ll be on second floor Cornell tonight, come find me.’”

The founder is not averse to converting the group into a website in the future if she finds someone who can help her with it. She also admitted that such a site called Swarthmore Missed Connections already exists but is not used. “If someone promoted the other one better, it would do well,” she said.

Sara Brakeman ’16, who appreciated the concept of Swarthmore Compliments and had a few posted about her, is more reserved about Missed Connections. “I feel like these sites are intended for other viewers that are not the person the post is about. When you write the post, you don’t assume that the person you’re writing about will actually see it ever. It’s for entertainment. I wouldn’t use this but I can see why someone would,” she said.

Swatties seem to be responding to Missed Connections slowly, it remains to be seen if the group will gain the same level of popularity as Compliments and Like a Little.

Photo courtesy of facebook.com.

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