The popular Facebook page, ‘University of Southampton Tell Him/Tell Her’, takes up a significant portion of Facebook news feed for its current 5673 followers, occasionally providing amusement with some witty folk’s post. The page intends to provide a platform for shy love bugs to express their affections with the handy mask of anonymity. However, the reality is that the page consists of people blurting out their sweet nothings into the ears of every John and Jane Doe with an internet connection. Others have used the page for misogyny and general complaining. The coming of ‘Tell Him/Tell Her’ has incurred the greatest display of mass shit flinging since the Excrement Olympics of 1602 peppered the walls of the Globe Theatre.
Perhaps that is a little unfair. Many posts seem sincere and remain to be seen in the light of their good nature (until at 12:03 some Jim-Bob comments with a joke or pun so gut-wrenchingly disgusting that the original post can never be seen in the same way again). It can also be argued that posting on a Facebook page anonymously can’t be very effective. The chances that the person a post is intended for actually sees the post are fairly slim when, instead of their name, a vague description such as ‘the blonde girl in the library, reading’ is used. Even if the post is seen, it was posted anonymously, creating yet another obstacle for the star-crossed lovers to overcome. The process can be quicker and see a much higher success rate with the good old-fashion method of talking. Of course talking is harder and not always possible, so the ability to vent ones feelings on the internet can be positive, as long as it doesn’t turn into a self-inflicted game of hope, doubt and disappointment.
The page’s ineptitude may be evidence of its true purpose and use. As well as showcasing one-way love letters of the pitied few, ‘Tell Him/Tell Her’ supplies its followers with the latest in prattle, pranks and Perverted Pics Ltd., marking a breakthrough in technology’s translation of the playground mentality. These posts are the real reason why people visit the page. The to and fro of the loud and the studying, the clean and the untidy, the virtuous and the virtue-less splatter the page’s time-line with the smarmy sarcasm of Larry David. Photos of upside down and inside out bedrooms give promise of an angry teary-eyed student in a way that feeds the soul and warms the heart. The awkward photos of women at the gym taken by pervy Pete and his friend deviant Dave so helpfully identifies the alpha males of Southampton. There are some witty posts that tickle the old funny bone but it is a large price to pay for a couple of gems. The ‘University of Southampton Tell Him/Tell Her’ page is overall well-meaning and harmless but does serve as a hub of bitchiness and perversion as a bi-product.
The position of the administrator is the true threat. Who are these self-elected kingpins of Southampton’s social scene and when will they strike? How do we even know what are real posts and not carefully planted messages that influence the reader’s subconscious? The wireless puppeteers, modern geniuses.