“I stole the big picture of Robert Baldwin from the
Baldwin Hall lobby.”
What would prompt a person to risk getting in trouble
by announcing a secret like this for everyone to see?
Students are digging out their deepest secrets, hidden
feelings and craziest college stories to post on the University of
Wisconsin-Stevens Point Confessions Facebook wall. Anyone can post anonymously,
and anyone can comment on the posted confessions.
“Sometimes, I carry a textbook around in my
backpack...I never use it. I just like to feel that I’m actually studying
something here,” one anonymous user posted.
The creator of the page agreed to an interview but
requested to remain anonymous. There are only 5 people who know who the creator
“During normal hours, I will receive about 50 – 75
confessions an hour,” the creator said. “There are so many confessions that
come in during a day, and I have to sort through them all and figure out which
ones to post and which ones not to. I just think it’s funny knowing some of the
stuff that goes on at Taco Bell Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.”
The page has gained massive attention across campus
from students and faculty alike. The page was started in early February and
already has over 3,500 “likes.” Stacey Gerken, a licensed psychologist and
director of the counseling center on campus, gave her thoughts on the page.
“It is hard to tell what is fun and what is serious,”
Gerben said. “I know that if we are talking about psychology of it—being about
to say something publically and anonymously is a way to get something out. The
danger, though, is if something is serious, putting it out and getting a
negative reaction. This is a way that people can be vulnerable to harsh
Some of the confessions do attract negative feedback,
but many seem to be posted for the sheer entertainment value.
“When I walk to class with my headphones in, I feel
like I’m living the music video for whatever song I am listening to,” posted
one anonymous user.
A few of the posts take on a more serious note but
still can come across as entertaining.
“We had a house party last year for Halloween, and some
kid dressed as a penguin stole our fire extinguisher and sprayed it all
throughout the house. I hate penguins,” wrote another anonymous poster.
Students and faculty are not the only ones paying
attention to this page, though. The Stevens Point Police Department is aware of
the page and is keeping an eye on the posts.
“It is something that we do know about and will look at
from time to time, depending on the circumstances of the cases we’re involved
in,” said Stevens Point police officer Michael Bink, who has personally used
two of the posted “confessions” in attempt to locate suspects involved in
Bink stated that if they ever saw anything of a very
serious nature, such as a confession of a felony, they would obtain a search
warrant, get a subpoena for the information and try to trace the post back to
the original IP address. Bink stated that although no posts have been used
successfully to locate anyone, they do pay attention, especially to the ones
that center around campus.
The creator of the page said the inspiration to start
the confession page came from the UW-Madison confessions page.
“When I started the page, I didn’t really expect to get
this big of a response, but now that it is this big, I am hoping that it can
get it bigger,” the creator said. “Some of the confessions have surprised me.
It’s definitely a shock seeing some of the stories, whether they be true or
not, because you really don’t realize what goes on this campus until you hear
it from people.”