In the past year or so, we’ve seen multiple UR confession pages start from the ground up and meet their own untimely demise. Thus, in usual fashion, the latest account — URSecretSafe — has arisen from the ashes of its predecessors on Instagram.
Confession accounts on social media have seen considerable popularity within the past five years, whether they’re run by middle school teenyboppers or barely-hanging-on college students. One has to wonder what the hype is all about, and why, despite their popularity, these accounts fail to maintain online engagement. Do they even add anything to our enjoyment of social media? Or is it just a pointless way of garnering short-lived attention from controversy?
I think confession accounts are a perfectly natural thing to fall back on for entertainment, especially considering our shift to online interactions over the last year. It’s easy to reach a wide range of people at once, voice opinions in a way that feels safe given the anonymity, and the not-so-secret secrecy that pervades the accounts adds to the fun.
UR-specific accounts have had varying success. Some have been forgotten, while others have been purposefully deserted due to poor content, inactivity, and/or giving a platform to bigoted opinions. Will URSecretSafe meet a different fate? Or, I guess the more specific question is, does it deserve to end up differently than the others? Does it bring anything new to the table, or are we just riding the high of the prospect of yet more controversy?
First and foremost, these accounts provide many people with a sense of community, albeit virtually. Those who feel lonely or lack the support they crave in an in-person environment can find something to make up for that on the internet. Additionally, there is a poisonous excitement laced within the ability to share thoughts anonymously in a way that garners extreme reactions from the general public. The anonymity does admittedly give people a free pass to lie and come up with exceedingly unbelievable tall tales, but I just call that free entertainment.
On top of that, accounts are expected to promote all types of opinions — even ones that are highly controversial or directly conflict with each other. Some go completely unmoderated and decide to publish any and all opinions thrown their way, adding to the boisterous controversy that often surrounds these confessions pages. Before we decide if URSecretSafe is up to the mark, we have to ask if the people running the accounts have a responsibility — or even the right — to censor certain confessions.
Confession pages are meant to be a source of biased opinions that range from ludicrous to unanimously supported. The people running these accounts are not paid for their work, so they really don’t have any obligation to filter divisive submissions. That being said, it’s simply basic human decency to turn away hateful and discriminatory content. We all know the difference between actual censorship and denouncing harmful speech — at least, I would hope.
URSecretSafe seems to pass these conditions with flying colors. It has been doing a good job of regularly uploading content, and based on the confessions sent in, many are happy to have a place to reflect, complain, and worry freely.
As for the actual content, I would say it’s only average, though that may be more of a reflection of what’s submitted than how the account is run. Additionally, despite our campus leaning considerably to the left, the account includes both liberal and conservative views in mostly equal measure. It seems fair to say the account owners have been doing what needs to be done, and only time will tell if the quality of the account is maintained.
URSecretSafe appears to be on the better side of confession accounts, and as it digs its roots further into the campus, we’ll have to see if that remains the case. Perhaps a more engaged audience will help give it more character in the future, but for now, it gets the job done.