I must confess, you are just plain mean

Accounts like Piper Confessions create an unnecessary safe space for bullies.

Hanna Bubser, Senior Columnist

Piper Confessions is back, Hamline. Did we ask for it? Someone must have. Do we need it? We definitely do not. Did I follow the account? I absolutely did. For those who are not familiar, Piper Confessions is a social media account centered around the idea of anonymous confessions. Basically, if you have something that you think is worth sharing, you send a direct message to the account and the moderator posts it without mentioning your name. It seems simple on the surface, but anything involving anonymity and social media usually is not.

When I was a first-year, Piper Confessions was an account on Facebook. I remember liking the page pretty early on in my Hamline career. I think that the reason I was drawn to it is because my high school had a Facebook page just like it. People would confess crushes on it and sometimes spill the answers to big math tests. Administration shut the page down not even two weeks after it went up. Occasionally it would come back with a new moderator at its helm, but it never lasted very long.

The allure of an anonymous account is what drew me to Piper Confessions in the first place. I figured it would be similar to the page from high school, and it was to an extent. People would message Piper Confessions to post about silly things like a student they saw at the gym who they thought was attractive; maybe if Piper Confessions posted about it they would meet and fall in love? I remember secretly hoping that one of the posts would be something sweet about me. Oh first semester of my first year…such simpler times.

Eventually, the confessions got raunchier and meaner. It probably came as a surprise to no one that the Facebook page quietly went away. To this day, I am not exactly sure who shut it down; not that it really matters. It is safe to say that there was no gaping hole in anyone’s life after Piper Confessions disappeared. I didn’t give it a second thought.

That brings us to the present day. Recently, I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw an account called Piper Confessions listed under my suggested pages to follow. A rush of nostalgia got the best of me and I clicked to learn more. Sure enough, it was good old Piper Confessions in a new form. The first post claims that Twitter and Facebook are “dead”, so Instagram seemed like the most logical option for a resurgence. The post goes on to say that the account is under new ownership as well.

I followed the account and braced myself. What would this round of Piper Confessions bring? Would it be more of the same or something new and fresh?  After a few days, more posts by Piper Confessions started piling up. One trend that I noticed? There are not many actual “confessions.” Mostly, it is people saying mean things about other people, but it’s okay because they did it anonymously, right? Obviously, I don’t believe that. But it seems to be the perspective that people engaging with Piper Confessions have. It is not surprising considering that this is how most cyberbullying starts: people feel confident when they can hide behind a screen. However, that confidence often breeds awfulness.

Take a look at the page for yourself and you will see what I mean. I feel uncomfortable repeating some of the posts word-for-word in this article, so I won’t. At the same time, I won’t cast a large net and claim that the entire account is full of people being jerks. There are some actual confessions as well, but most of them are not. This brings me to my point: confession accounts are bogus. Piper Confessions is less a place to share a true confession and more of a place to complain about people who go to Hamline. It should probably just be called Piper Complaints.

I don’t like that this sort of account exists. College campuses are already such highly competitive environments, it doesn’t help to have social media accounts that feed off negativity. I understand that an account such as Piper Confessions could be seen as a way to blow off steam. But what happened to “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all?” Maybe I’m missing the point. Does it make me a complete grouch that I think the Piper Confessions account is ridiculous? I don’t think so. I think it makes me a reasonable person.

At this moment, I am unfollowing the account. I believe that negativity breeds negativity, even if it is in a secondary form. Piper Confessions does not have an allure, like I thought the account from my high school did. When it comes down to it, this type of account is just an excuse to bully without being credited for it. I am not about to endorse an account that practices this. If you want to make a confession, feel free to do so. But maybe don’t do it on a social media account, and definitely don’t confuse saying something mean with “confessing”.