The days of passing notes are gone. Facebook has become the virtual bulletin board for classroom catch-up, crushes and compliments.
Miramonte High School in Orinda is embracing the change with the Facebook page, Miramonte Compliments — a place where students and staff are encouraged to submit their messages of appreciation for one another to be anonymously published.
The purpose, according to the page, is to "spread joy, love, and cheer around campus." Apparently, the trend started in the area at Las Lomas in Walnut Creek, which created a "compliments" page after hearing about the social experiment being conducted by Queen's University in Canada.
At the Las Lomas site, a student gets credit for being the best to hang with. Another is "the most entertaining person you will ever meet." One teacher is a happy angel: "He has a halo of happiness and harmony that is with him wherever he goes."
Since the Miramonte page launched on Dec. 20, 2012, more than 400 members of the Miramonte community have been sharing messages to one another, calling their fellow Matadors "beautiful," "hilarious," "sweet," "gorgeous," "caring," "honest," "sincere," "stunning," "smart," "a great friend" and "an inspiration," among other warm-and-fuzzy adjectives.
The page is updated multiple times daily with messages that are sent privately to the administrators, who post them on the wall.
Spreading positive messages online could help counteract the negative consequences of cyber bullying by helping shy teenagers socially interact, as a 2011 study suggests, and encouraging "virtual empathy". However, researchers have also found that teens who use Facebook show "narcissistic tendencies" — and perhaps being called a "stud" and "God-like" isn't going to help.
On the other hand, flattery will get you everywhere.
What do you think of the "Miramonte Compliments" Facebook page? Is it a good idea? What message do you think it sends to teenagers? Share your thoughts below.