ByÂ Baldeep Grewal:
The internet is a world of trends and fashions. New ideas and endeavours keep coming up which makes itÂ so attractive to its users.Â Recently, a new trend called ‘confession pages’ has been rising in popularity. The confession pages have people from different backgrounds confessing their oneâ€night stands, heartbreaks, crushes, mistakes, or just their personal views on various issues.
Delhi University Confessions (DUC) is one such confession page that has risen massively in its popularity.Â Currently 74880 members strong, the page is followed by not just Delhi University students but also theÂ professors at the university, school students and students from other colleges. The page even boasts of aÂ fan following abroad!
An interview with one of the administrators of the page, Old Monk, reveals what DUC is all about and what it is like to beÂ theÂ administrator of the most happening DU related page.
Where did the inspiration for DUC come from?
I am not the creator of the page. The original admin ‘Y’ created the page. He was heartbroken after his girlfriend left him. In order to give people who were going through the same situation as him, a platform to share their story anonymously, Y created DUC on 19th February, 2013. The concept was new and it just clicked.
How do you balance your personal life and your life as an administrator of the page?
Well, we have 3 administrators on the page — V, Y, and I. So that makes managing the pageÂ easier. I joined the page on 7th April, 2013. Initially, it felt a little hostile since I was new and there was a lack of interaction. However, slowly the members accepted me and I made many friends through the page. I started getting a lot of messages. There were also a lot of proposalsÂ andÂ phoneÂ numbersÂ (laughs). It was all very overwhelming at first, but slowly I gravitated towards my personal life too. The job of an administrator really is not much — all we can do is add a footnote. So Old Monk doesn’t really dominate my personal life as such.
Sometimes I feel envious of Old Monk. I was talking to a girl from my personal profile on Facebook. On a whim I messaged her as Old Monk from the DUC page. Immediately I got a message from her on my profile that she was busy and would talk to me after 10 minutes!
There are a lot of other ‘Delhi University Confessions’ pages on Facebook. However, your page is by far the most popular. What do you think is the reason for this popularity?
A confessions page is as active as its members are. As administrators, we just post the content and add a footnote to make the post more entertaining. The comments under the posts attract a lot of traffic too. We are popular because the people on our page are cool. Also, we try to censor all the offensive stuff which makes it a more memberâ€friendly page.
Do you feel that you are serving a social purpose through this page?
Nope (grins). This page was not made for social work but entertainment. The issues that have featured on our page are the IIT vs. DU conflict and once there was a wave of ‘I am so middle class’ posts. I think the latter was actually pretty good because it prevented people from that class from feeling ashamed of their class status. Through the posts, being middle class was, for once, cool. Sometimes, we do some social commentary. We shared the Google link on our page during the Uttarakhand floods. Otherwise, we are just like any other online entertainment platform.
How has your experience as an administrator been?
I get too much attention, to be honest (laughs). I get to interact with more than 70,000 people. Some want to beat me up while some want to marry me (winks and smiles). I have never accepted any of the proposals. Sure, it is nice when people say they love you. However, I wonder if they mean it since they have only seen my funny side.
Is the job of an administrator very rewarding?
Well, it’s not like we are getting paid for it. We did get some advertising offers but we rejected those
since by using the page for commercial purposes the whole essence of DUC would have been lost. The popular writer of young adult books, Durjoy Dutta, used to comment on our posts. He also interacted with the administrators and complimented us on our footnotes. When we look at the bigger picture and all the lives that we are connected to through our page, it makes all the hours of effort worth it all.
Why are all the administrators male?
That is just how it happens to be. The guys working on the page as well as most of the male members are all decent people. We try our best to make our page safe and inoffensive for all readers. All the troll accounts were blocked from the page since using a fake identity beats the purpose of commenting. Anonymity is limited to the confessions. While internet is free for all, we are not answerable to the people who make troll accounts or try to damage the page in any way.
How do you manage the conflicts between members?
We don’t really come across any major fights on the page. We can’t read and regulate all the comments. Most of the times what seems like a fight is actually just a general discussion where two thoughts are colliding. In case of a more serious conflict we block all participants of the dispute and advice them not to make things personal.
What is your take on the accusations that DUC is projecting a negative image of Delhi University and its students’ lives?
There are positive and negative sides to everything. It is a confessions page so people share deeply personal things that they do not share publicly — things that they are not proud of or can never tell anyone about. It gives a vent to the frustration that all college students go through. Also, members get to learn from the experiences of the confessors.
What was the most inspiring confession that you came across on the page?
Once a girl confessed about how it was her birthday and nobody in her family remembered. She was very sad and disheartened. After that post went up, more than 500 members wished her ‘happy birthday’ in the comments. The heartfelt and sincere wishes made her day. It was very touching. So we are all like a one big informal family (smiles).
Any last words?
Since this was a personal interview and you are the one who will be writing everything, you are responsible for all the typos (grins).
This short interview with Old Monk revealed a very humble and intelligent personality who has all the wisdom of an old monk. Undoubtedly, DUC and all its members are in good hands.