The Claremont Colleges have witnessed the advent of a new Facebook trend this semester—the Compliments pages, which have been adopted by both Pomona College and Scripps College.
The idea began on the other end of the country at Queens College in New York. From there, it spread to Washington University, then to the Claremont Colleges. The concept is simple: you Facebook-message your compliment to the anonymous page-holder. Soon after, the page will publish the compliment on its wall, without saying who wrote it.
The Compliments pages have also spurred spin-offs including Pomona Observations, Critiques, Prophecies, Conspiracies and Claremont Insults.
Despite popularity, Pomona Compliments was deleted Nov. 28 without explanation. The anonymous creators of Scripps Compliments, however, were available for an interview with TSL.
TSL: WHO ARE YOU? We have to try!
Scripps Compliments: Staying anonymous! Sorry. The only people who know we are running Scripps Compliments are the two of us, plus one of our moms.
TSL: What drove you to create this page?
SC: We were inspired by Pomona’s page. In the end, it just made us happy to make other people happy.
TSL: What is the most creative compliment you have received?
SC: The following haiku might not be the most profound compliment we received, but we think it is the most creative:
I love your bro tanks and legs
You’re like a soulmate
TSL: Please, spill—how do you feel about the backlash of Pomona Critiques, or the quasi-mockery of pages like Pomona Observations and Pomona Prophecies?
SC: As for the quasi-mockery pages, we find them entertaining and harmless. Pomona Critiques could have the potential to be constructive, especially since the published submissions were critiques of the school and not individual students (which would probably be destructive).
TSL: What’s the real purpose of all the anonymity—both yours and that of the compliment senders?
SC: By keeping the page faceless, the focus is on the page and the compliments, not the people behind it. As for keeping the senders anonymous—we’ve noticed that compliments often become some sort of exchange. If you get a compliment, you’re generally expected to give one back. This anonymity avoids that situation entirely and allows people to give and receive compliments without any expectations.
TSL: Do you ascribe yourself to the New Sincerity? Just kidding. But really: Do you think that people struggle with compliments in a society that so values self-deprecation?
SC: People definitely seem to struggle with the openness and sincerity of a compliment. For some reason, there is often something awkward about sincere compliments. When do you give them? How? We don’t know if this is the same in other schools’ cultures, but it is something we’ve noticed here at Scripps.