Thursday, May 24, 2018

At Trinity and around the world: Trinity Crushes Anonymous

by Serena Elavia

It was a boring afternoon on a regular day when I, like hundreds of other Trinity students, received a friend request from Trinity Crushes. Normally, I delete these requests, branding them as things that will clog my news feed with unnecessary event reminders and posts, but this one seemed different. Intrigued, I hit confirm friend request. For the next few days, I watched people post their crushes and chatted about the site with my friends. Trinity Crushes did not seem like a big deal back in March. At first I thought that this was a futile attempt to revive the infamous TrinTalk. For the youngsters on campus, TrinTalk was an online anonymous confession board where students could post just about anything on everything. It was shut down last year because of many of its offensive and sexually explicit posts. Trin Crushes though seems to have a different purpose, and just a few days later, the student behind Trinity Crushes set up a Google Doc where students could anonymously post their crushes and the site blew up in an overnight sensation.

After watching my news feed update every morning with various crush postings, I was hooked and intrigued by Trinity Crushes. Like many other students, I wanted to know who the administrator was and why he or she chose to start the site. I Facebook messaged Trinity Crushes, hoping that it would meet with me in person, but my wish was not granted; so we decided to conduct an interview over Facebook chat.

When I tried to press Trinity Crushes for any identifying factors (age, gender, major), it politely declined and said that the purpose of the site is not to know who is running it, but to provide students with the courage to share a crush. While Trinity Crushes’ gender is set to female, the administrator noted that Facebook randomly assigned the gender. After learning about the James Madison University Crushes page from a friend, Trinity Crushes decided to start one for Trinity. Trinity Crushes hopes that people who do not have the courage to approach their crush will post on the site to let that special someone know that they have a secret crush. Everyone, even the most cynical romantics, like knowing that someone has a crush on them, and Trinity Crushes to create this happy, warm feeling on campus. “Why not start a site where people can get enjoyment from knowing someone has a crush on them, or a place they can share their crush, or even a place where they can enjoy watching love being spread?” Trinity Crushes wrote. The ultimate goal of the website though is that hopefully someone who shares their crush on the page will eventually muster up the courage to approach their crush in person.

But not everyone trusted Trinity Crushes when it was first released. A student messaged Trinity Crushes when it first opened to say that he felt uncomfortable sharing a crush knowing that the administrator of the site would know who he was. This prompted Trinity Crushes to create the Google Doc system where students can submit their crushes 100 percent anonymously. But anonymous postings may not always be the best thing. Lately, however, the site has strayed away from its original innocent purpose. While Trinity Crushes does feel that some posts are overly sexual and edging on inappropriate, it does not feel right censoring peoples’ crushes. Trinity Crushes says “I realize some of the page is quite offensive and I wish that was not so.” If a student wants a crush removed, Trinity Crushes does honor that request and has at times not posted highly graphic crushes. But it will only be a matter of time until a post goes too far and offends a student. Will Trinity Crushes have the same ill-fated ending as TrinTalk? The founder seems to think not. When asked, the founder does not believe that he or she could get in trouble and believes that the page will continue to survive next year. Still, Trinity Crushes says that “some of the posts are very honest and I hope they can lead by example.”

Self-described as a “cynical yet hopeless romantic,” Trinity Crushes has dabbled in posting on the site. “I have a couple crushes,” Trinity Crushes says and has posted three on the page. It came as even more of a surprise when someone posted a crush about the founder of Trinity Crushes. Luckily, this happened after the Google Doc was implemented.

In the same way that many crushes on the site will remain anonymous, so too will the founder of Trinity Crushes. I have my thoughts on a few identifying characteristics of who is behind the site, but I’ll keep those to myself and let the campus guessing game continue. What I will say though is this: please fulfill the administrator’s original purpose and use the site to share a real crush, and not a harassing post. Let’s not have TrinTalk 2.0.

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