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Social Media | Featured

Richmond Compliments and @URSpotted lead social media wave

Published: January 24, 2013, 12:31 am ET
Collegian Reporter

Two Westhampton College seniors launched Richmond Compliments, a Facebook page with more than 1,300 members of the Richmond community, this December.

The two women agreed to an anonymous interview with The Collegian over Facebook message under the Richmond Compliment abbreviation “RC.” RC said that the two women trusted each other to keep their identities confidential and worked well together and communicated frequently about potential improvements.

“The irony is that we have never met each other in real life,” RC said.

The creater of @URSpotted, a twitter account that launched in January 2012, said in an anonymous interview with The Collegian that it hoped to resume tweeting this spring, having been fueled by a little healthy competition from Richmond compliments.

@URSpotted said: “I envy the creators of Richmond Compliments. …What a great way to promote friendly feelings around campus. But that’s not to say this campus doesn’t need a little juicy gossip.”

Richmond Compliments follows the model of a social project that was originally started by students at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, RC said.

Similar to the Queen’s University mission, Richmond Compliments aims to spread joy to the Richmond community. Students can send in compliments by either sending the Facebook page a message or by using an anonymous Google form, RC said.

Richmond Compliments launched Dec. 11, 2012, and gained popularity in early January and during winter break, RC said. Initially, one woman had started another Facebook page, UR Loved, which had exactly the same premise as Richmond Compliments. When the UR Loved creator found the already-present Richmond Compliments page, both Facebook pages joined forces, and the UR Loved page was deleted, RC said.

Most of the compliments involve some sort of admiration or praise, RC said, and often express gratitude toward another student for being a great friend, a great roommate or just being a good person.

RC posted a compliment about freshman Terry Allen that said: “Terry Allen is the sunshine on a cloudy day for me. His smile [lights] up the world and I don’t know what I would do without his beauty and love.”

Allen said: “I thought it was kind of weird because I didn’t know who posted it. I was surprised.”

Not all Richmond Compliments postings are completely anonymous. Junior Meredith Hawkins’ roommates sent in a message that said: “Meredith Hawkins we love you so much. You’re fantastic and we think you light up our world. This is, of course, your two roommates speaking here. Never leave us. Ever. ‘We shall run to the ends of the earth before we leave one another on this planet.’ Godspeed.”

Once the site began to gain momentum, it received 10-15 compliment submissions each day, RC said, and now receives about six submissions a day. To review and organize submissions, one of the page’s founders takes the morning shift, and the other takes the evenings, RC said.

“There are many truly inspiring individuals at U of R,” RC said, “and we wanted to give students an outlet to both express their appreciation and receive credit for their positive contributions to the community. We’re hoping that as many people use Richmond Compliments as possible, and that every student receives a compliment at some point.

“These pleasantries will hopefully make the University of Richmond a better, happier, more thoughtful place, one compliment at a time.”

The page’s goal is to post every compliment it receives, yet the women adhere to strict guidelines, RC said. To be posted, the compliments must be appropriate, avoid foul language and be positive in nature.

In addition, the compliments may be mildly flirtatious, RC said, but anything that could be interpreted as offensive or crude was not posted.

“There is a difficult line to draw between these being potentially offensive and just harmless joking between friends,” RC said.

Contact reporter Jessica Racioppi at jessica.racioppi@richmond.edu

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