Beloit College Magazine

Spring 2013 (March 14, 2013 at 12:00 am)

Be Nice, or Neutral

March 14, 2013 at 12:00 am
Beloit has its own take on the Facebook phenomenon of “compliments” pages

“The nicest person I know.” “Beloit is lucky to have you.” “An incredible person and friend.” “A professor whose aim is genuinely unselfish.”

This is just a sampling of the online font of positivity that has been calling out Beloiters by name, making them smile—and sometimes even blush—since early December. It’s a Facebook page called Beloit Compliments, and in its short existence, it has managed to spread quite a bit of cheer and inspire a couple of spinoffs.

In its “About” section, the site describes itself as “a social project that aims to spread joy to the Beloit community.” Users send a private message to the page’s inbox, and a moderator posts the comments on the page’s public wall. The result is a sort of open love letter from Beloiters, to Beloiters.

“I was inspired to start this page after seeing a similar one for Macalester College in St. Paul and McMaster University in Canada,” says the Beloit Compliments moderator, a student who wishes to remain anonymous until graduation.

In fact, Facebook Compliments pages have proliferated online, most of them connected to colleges, universities, or high schools. The concept was originally meant to be a counterpoint to meanness and bullying online.

“I felt that last semester was an especially difficult one for many people; students and faculty needed something to lift their spirits, and I was looking for a project that would address that,” says Beloit’s moderator. The page was born during the stress of finals week and quickly exploded.

Like any popular cause or online meme, the page quickly inspired Beloit imitators—Beloit Neutral Statements and Beloit Insults. President Bierman, in a message to the community, called the latter a “disgrace” and an action against the Statement of Student Culture.

“I was disappointed by the Beloit Insults page, but thankfully that didn’t last long,” says the moderator, who admits that, “the Beloit Neutral Statements page is pretty funny though.”

Getting to all the compliments can be time-consuming, but the moderator is dedicated to posting every single one of them.

“When I graduate, I will pass the page on to someone else, ideally a rising senior,” he or she says. “Hopefully it will still be going then. Sometimes a little positive reinforcement can go a long way.”

Neutrality:

Beloit Neutral Statements is a Facebook page that pokes fun at “compliments” with its observations that neither flatter nor offend. When a growing number of thumbs-ups started accumulating around one post, someone wrote: “It is counterintuitive to ‘like’ things on the Beloit Neutral Statements page.” What follows is a small sampling of Beloit Neutral Statments posts:

  • "Beloit is a college."
  • "Middle College is not in the middle of the college."
  • "Beloit spelled backwards is tioleb."
  • "Tomorrow is the day after today."
  • "Beloit Neutral Statements is the only unbiased news source left in my life."
  • "Tomorrow is the first day of classes."
  • "Beloit Neutral Statements has a special place in my heart. Although I must also add that I neither agree nor disagree with anything it says."

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