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With whom do you trust your deepest secrets?

We interview the creator of U of R Confessions

Author: alex antoneshyn – contributor

Let’s face it, we’ve all been here at one point or another. / Matthew Barre
Let’s face it, we’ve all been here at one point or another. / Matthew Barre

For those of you who follow, and maybe even submit, to University of Regina Confessions (URC) on Facebook, how much thought have you given to the person who sits on the other end? Their hand reaching into a bucket of popcorn, the Facebook search engine open in another window to more thoroughly examine the submitter – reading confessions?

Recently breaching ten thousand likes, URC is one of the most widely followed Facebook pages among Saskatchewan students. Those who follow the page tune in for anonymous confessions posted by the page’s administrators or to submit a confession themselves. URC has grown popular by its anecdotes detailing drunken escapades, unrequited proclamations of love, complaints of the financial and academic stress university causes, and, pleasantly enough, expressions of gratitude toward kind strangers. The active comment section below submissions has transformed the page into a sort of forum, readers debating both serious social issues, like gender and race discrimination or university politics, and less grave concerns, like the ply of public toilet paper.

With confessions as, let’s say, entertaining as these, little thought is given to the publisher or publishers. Most basic questions surrounding them, aside from their identity, are “What gender is the administrator?” “How many administrators are there?” “Has knowing these secrets interfered with their dating lives?” Luckily, URC’s creator – let’s call him or her Sam for the sake of non-gender specific and ambiguous names – was willing to answer some of the Carillon’s questions through their Facebook page, and although we know little more about him or her, Sam was able to share what it’s like being the University’s secret keeper.

“I feel like the real-life Gossip Girl, being an admin and the creator of the URC page and knowing what everyone is up to at the university,” said Sam, admitting that this does have an unfavourable effect. “I think some people react negatively to URC admins because they feel like they can’t trust us with their confessions.”

But, this fear is needless, considering the page’s mandate to ensure identities of submitters remain unknown.

“We value anonymity greatly, both for ourselves as admins and those who send in their confessions. We’ve had people inboxing us, demanding to know admins’/confessors’ names… We [have never done] that, and we never will.”

Not only does the page receive questions regarding its participants, but followers are frequently curious about the number of administrators who run it. I was not given, but Sam did share that he or she was the only creator.

Created on March 27, 2013, and inspired by the confession pages already founded by other universities and colleges, URC experienced a growth in popularity very quickly.

“I seriously thought there would be a few hundred followers – not thousands… So HUGE thank you to [the] peeps who make the existence of URC possible. You guys are the best!”

Sam described the page’s formation as “exhilarating,” especially when it was mentioned in a lecture by a professor or when Sam would see “the IT gentlemen behind his IT support desk in the library, laughing and reading/commenting on stuff.”

Sam credited the page’s popularity to its existence as an anonymous and interactive platform.

“It’s a creative medium to express one’s thoughts and feelings toward something… Also, it’s a great way to keep folks updated on what’s going on around the university.”

And let’s make one thing clear, “URC has never been shut down. We temporarily stopped posting one semester because we had very few admins and most of those admins had a lot of things going on. We are students, just like most URC readers, and therefore, also have classes and deadlines to meet. We try our best not to let URC get in the way of our education, as that’s something we value and take priority in.”

Speaking of other administrators, how does your average student become one? Sam informed me that it’s hard to find someone who shares the same values as the page, but being an active participant is a good way to start. Candidates are chosen from “true follower[s]” and are then interviewed before being selected by the administrators. Most important is the ability to sort through publish-worthy material and the confessions that mirror each other in content or are offensive towards any group.

So, what kind of confession do the administrators look for? Your chance of making the URC newsfeed increases if your confession is genuine and unique. Sam’s personal favourites are the posts that make her or him laugh.

“Like that one confession that was sent in about north tower pointing a laser through the window of [south tower] and the person ended up dodging it like a big kid in a chocolate factory because it scared them. That was a funny one!”

But if you are the poor soul who was frightened by abovementioned laser, or are another anonymous submitter, don’t be too concerned about the administrators recognizing you around campus. While Sam did confirm they notice confessors, you shouldn’t be worried.

Sam said, “[I’m] always tempted to approach [submitters] and say how awesome they are!”

Sam never had a goal in terms of followers, but continues to be amazed at the page’s success. The future of URC is also left undetermined, as the administrators haven’t given much thought to how long the page will be in operation.

“Maybe two more years… or even forever. Who knows? It really depends on you guys.”

As for the collaborative URC – USask Confessions party, the details are still in the works. Like other provinces, the administrators of both confession pages would designate one night for a party to happen simultaneously in Regina and Saskatoon. Potentially, the event would be masquerade themed and consist of a cocktail hour, to which attendees would need the password released on the Facebook page. Quite a bit of interest has been generated, but URC is still looking for a vendor – shoot them a message if you know a place. The Carillon will continue to report, and likely attend, as this develops.

Using all of the sleuthing skills Nancy Drew provided me with, I believe Sam’s identity can be narrowed down significantly:

Sam is most likely not named Sam. I’ll remind you that I created Sam for the purpose of this article so as to lessen the difficulty of navigating pronoun references in a society that is considering changing its national anthem in the spirit of gender equality.

Sam is, stereotypically speaking, most likely a girl considering the Gossip Girl reference.

Sam is probably two years from convocation, because why would you continue a university confession page after you have left the university?

According to my calculations, this means approximately one quarter of the student body could be URC’s creator. The rest is up to you to figure out. You’re welcome.

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