A day in the life of a matchmaker: UNH Crushes edition
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 00:10
In elementary school, students revealed romantic feelings for one another by passing out store-bought cards on Valentine’s Day. By middle school, he said/she said and instant messaging ruled and, in high school, texting took over. Now, in college, at least at the University of New Hampshire, students reveal their crushes anonymously via a Facebook page called UNH Crushes.
The page gained momentum in March of 2013 and now has over 4,300 likes. It’s become a staple of study breaks and a constant topic of conversation on campus. Making the cut and making it onto UNH Crushes means one gains campus celebrity status, at least for a day.
Students submit a brief message about their crush anonymously via a Google form, and the administrator posts the comments to the page. Comments range from sweet and emotional to comical and vulgar (some too sexual to mention), and include as little or as much information as the crusher supplies. One example: “The guy with dark hair and bright blue eyes who always sits in the front of our Soc. 502 class. You’re so handsome. Thought you should know.”
The UNH sophomore behind the page is anonymous as well, and he isn’t ready to reveal his identity just yet. He’s having far too much fun behind the scenes of love and lust at UNH.
The administrator – let’s call him Crushes – took over from another student at the end of his freshman year. The former administrator had given up the page, and UNH Crushes had become deactivated. Those who enjoyed the page became very upset, and Crushes decided to take the reigns and reinstate the page.
“I thought it was fun and I wanted to keep it going, so I took over,” Crushes said. “I was honestly surprised at how big it got.”
The account gained over 250 likes almost immediately and now maintains its status as the second largest unofficial UNH account, behind UNH Confessions. Crushes did not do much marketing or branding; he relied, instead, on word of mouth and word spread throughout the Facebook world.
Crushes has his work cut out for him as he scans the 100 submissions he receives a day. At first, he simply posted all of the submissions using a computer shortcut. Now, however, he proofreads them to make sure that nothing completely vulgar or offensive makes the cut.
“I’m not trying to make people feel bad about themselves, ” Crushes said.
Apart from eliminating those posts that are obviously intended to be degrading or hurtful, or those that are far too vague (i.e. “girl in the hat at the library”), Crushes tries not to discriminate when posting based on the seriousness of the post, whether or not he likes the person described or agrees with the submission, et cetera. If a certain “crush” is mentioned multiple times, he doesn’t shy away from including these posts, too, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.
“I can only control it so much while still trying to be fair to people who are posting real crushes about people,” Crushes said.
Crushes invites anyone who feels uncomfortable with the attention or feels anything is inappropriate to message him. Several people have flagged the page as being inappropriate, which means Facebook then deactivates UNH Crushes and Crushes’ personal account for 12 hours. As he states on the page, “Instead of flagging comments, and shutting down the page and ruining it for everyone, just message me and ask me to remove a post if you think it’s offensive. Thanks. Crush on.”
The page receives several thousand views a day, and Crushes said that there are multiple reasons for the page’s success.
“Everyone has their own reasons for going on the page, but I think the majority of it is for humor and entertainment and just that little hope that they’ll see themselves on there,” he said.
Crushes can’t see who submits each crush; the only information supplied by the Google form is a timestamp and the crush submitted. That begs the question, then, as to whether people submit crushes about themselves or their friends.
“I think there’s people out there who post about themselves,” Crushes said. “And then there’s definitely people that post about their friends to make them feel better.”
While he knows of only one instance in which the crush and “crushee” have found one another via the page (his friend obtained a girl’s phone number), Crushes said that he’s sure that that happens, too. He, too, has been mentioned several times but, so far, no personal romance has come from it for him, either.
Recently, though, the level of emotion displayed via the submissions has intensified. Students post about feeling lost or unlucky in love, sexual orientation, et cetera. While this was never Crush’s intention for the page, he certainly has no plans to interfere.
“I just do it for the entertainment, but, I mean, now that there’s people getting emotional and, like, using the page to vent anonymously, I kind of feel obligated to help them,” Crushes said. “Personally, I would never do that, but obviously there’s kids out there that need help and want help from not just me but their classmates, and they’re getting help through posts.”
Crushes has received some criticism for not posting as consistently as people would like, though he does strive to update UNH Crushes at least twice a day. One person complained that UNH Confessions posts more regularly. Crushes said that he understands that the UNH Confessions administrator is “hugely committed” to the page, and that he has the utmost respect for him.
However, Crushes has to deal with a much larger volume of submissions; his current spreadsheet consists of about 3,500 submissions, and his former sheet boasted several thousand as well. He said that he is not offended by any criticism.
“I don’t care. I think it’s funny. Like, I have 4,300 likes. I’m not going to let one kid get to me,” Crushes said.