KAIE QUIGLEY & PAT CARBONE
@missedconnectionslasell speaks for themself
After building a popular platform for student opinion and captivating campus for nearly a year, the Instagram page @missedconnectionslasell is now using their own voice to speak on responsibilities of running the page, and plans for the future.
The page, created in January by an anonymous student, posts student opinions submitted through a google form. The account has fostered its fair share of drama, but according to the founder, that was not the initial intent of the account. “I really started because I felt like the students needed like a voice,” they said. “I just wanted students to… have a safe space to just like, kind of let it all go,” said the founder of the page.
The founder knew students exploiting the account was inevitable, but said some submissions exceeded expectations. Among complaints about food, events, and housing on campus came an onslaught of sensitive information. “It is so crazy, like the things that I know about people on campus, and like, they do not know that I know,” they said. “This stuff is shocking.”
“It’s very weird that just one singular person knows so much about everyone,” said junior psychology major, Eftihia Fotos. “It might be kinda bad because people say mean stuff, but personally, I think it’s entertaining.”
Though some may be paranoid over spilled secrets, sophomore exercise science major Alex Weinhaus is not worried. “Most of the stuff that people put on is kinda just stupid. I feel like no ones really putting any deep dark secrets on there,” said Weinhaus.
Contrary to Weinhaus’ beliefs, the founder said certain submissions contained slurs, private information, and more.
“I try not to post things like that. And of course… sometimes it slips through the cracks [but], you know, students correct me on that,” they said. The founder said they are often educated and supported by students when conversations over posts occur, which leads to the resolution of archiving, or deleting posts. However, sometimes the opposite occurs as well.
The founder cited one example when a group of students threatened them through direct messages last year over a post.
“I didn’t perceive it as bullying… I just thought it was like, you know, some inside joke that this group of friends had, and I had posted it, and I turned off my phone. And I logged back in. And I have several DMS from this group of friends saying, like, take this post down, or else whenever you expose yourself, we’re gonna, you know, like, beat you up, and like, all this stuff,” they said.
The founder reached out to the subject of the post, and soon received reconciliation. “So the post had been taken down. I had apologized to the person. The person was like, I didn’t see a problem with it,” they said. “When I had told them that their group of friends sent those messages… that person made everyone apologize. But that was like one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with running this page.”
Exercise science sophomore McKenna McCool appreciates the filtration of posts, as she doesn’t believe that’s the point of the platform. “I think it’s more for jokes. Just for people to more stay connected than look at offensive [material]…” said McCool.
Still, with such moments, gatekeeping the rumor mill has begun taking its toll on the founder. “I haven’t posted in like a month because it does weigh down on you. Because like, you have people telling you all these things and it’s like, I just need like a break sometimes,” they said.
In addition, they said these types of interactions are one of many factors contributing to their choice to be anonymous. According to the founder, some of their closest friends, including people they’ve lived with, have been unaware of their alter-ego. Meanwhile, others in their inner circle have been dedicated to keeping the secret, and supporting when needed.
“I do plan on revealing myself next year… But it’s one of those things where it’s like I kinda want to be gone before everything can get back to me,” they said.
According to the page founder, the reveal will happen in one of two ways. “Plan A is just, I post like, pictures of my dorm building and my room number and then they can figure it out that way,” they said. “And then plan B… is to take a picture of myself at graduation with the caption like I’m out of here.”
Junior health science major Madison Nerich says part of the draw to the account has been the anonymity of the owner. “I do think about who on earth could it possibly be. The account is so thought through and planned out. They know what to post and make people curious about what is happening,” said Nerich.
While the allure of anonymity may fade with the announcement, content will continue as @missedconnectionslasell will be passed on by the founder to an unnamed heir. “If I don’t find someone to run it, it’s gonna cease to exist. But I do want to pass it down. Even if that means the university takes over,” they said.