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July 29th, 2011
Teen’s social media use inspires others
Anonymous compliment site creates positivity at Illinois school
By Jenna Zwang, Assistant Editor
Read more by Jenna Zwang
Too often, we hear stories about students using online anonymity to bully their peers. But one Illinois high school student is using social media to improve campus morale.
A rising sophomore at Lake Zurich High School created a Formspring page where middle and high school students can leave anonymous compliments for each other. The site’s creator has chosen to remain anonymous herself, releasing only her grade and gender. She approves all comments before they are posted, often adding an emoticon or positive comment of her own.
Formed this past spring, “LZ Compliments” has received 3,164 postings as of press time. Students use the site to boost their classmates anonymously, posting such comments as “[student] is a babe and is cute with her braces,” or “[student] is so sincere and an awesome person.”
The creator of LZ Compliments says she made the site in response to the ugly negativity she usually saw on the internet.
“I didn’t know what the reaction was going to be,” she told Lake Zurich Patch. “I didn’t know how popular it would be.”
While initially the site received negative comments predicting its failure, the student moderator refused to post anything negative. Soon, positive sentiments came rolling in. She says she most likes posts that are well thought out and include more than just compliments on physical appearances.
The creation of LZ Compliments comes at a time when cyber bullying has led to a recent spate of highly publicized teen suicides, or “bullycides,” across the nation. Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook’s marketing director and sister of site co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, recently argued that putting an end to anonymity online could help curb bullying and harassment on the web.