If I had asked the creator of the “TBH NAIT” Facebook page to meet me for an interview two years ago, he may have avoided me.
“When I was younger I was really shy,” said the 21-year-old marketing student, who requested to remain anonymous beyond that description.
Such is not the case anymore. In fact, TBH NAIT is a sort of reflection of its creator’s personal growth.
Shy people get a voice
“The page kind of gives shy people and people that are socially anxious a voice to be heard, and not be judged,” the student explained, in an unusually quiet HP Centre in early October. My request for an interview received a response within hours.
The young entrepreneur was eager to meet me and eager to explain both the motivation and strategies behind TBH to the NAIT student body.
Seated casually at a table in Bytes, we spoke candidly about TBH NAIT’s creation, its future and its benefits to the student body. The student started TBH (To Be Honest) NAIT after the original “NAIT Confessions” page stopped operating. TBH is very similar to NAIT Confessions – to publish a post, users simply message the page. That message is then reviewed briefly and made public on the page’s news feed. The identity of the poster remains unknown.
One of the page’s recent messages details a poster’s displeasure at somebody’s microwave conduct and another expresses animosity towards those who loudly “sniffle” in class. An unnamed fellow laments the growing propensity to sport man buns about campus.
Most posts are light hearted and TBH mentioned that no overtly explicit messages have been received. TBH believes that for the most part, people just want to speak their mind. Messages will not be posted, though, if they contain racism or if they are “very” offensive and directed at specific individuals.
Before its hiatus, the original NAIT Confessions page had gathered over 4,000 likes and almost 1,400 confessions over a two-year existence.
Being a fan of that page is part of what prompted TBH to start another. Before Confessions went down, its administrator posted a message advertising for a new operator. TBH attempted to contact the administrator but received no reply.
Thus came the decision to start a new page, which has gradually grown in popularity since its creation in May. It has been experiencing a recent growth in popularity, and currently sits with about 540 likes.
TBH wasn’t the only one to see an opportunity, though. Another page, also entitled “NAIT Confessions” started in September, but with about 100 users, it hasn’t seen TBH’s success. This is a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by its creator.
“He actually contacted me last week and the way he approached me wasn’t very friendly,” TBH recalled. “He basically said, ‘Here’s the deal: I made a new Confessions page. You’re gonna shut yours down and you’re gonna work for me.’ ”
TBH recoiled at the manner of contact. As a marketing student, he sees value in proper communication and finds that running the page complements his schoolwork. TBH also runs a popular Facebook page detailing the whereabouts of radar and speed traps in the city. “You get into a routine,” TBH said of the busy lifestyle.
As for the name, TBH thinks it breathes a bit of fresh air into the world of school confession networks, adding that it is more relevant to the generation that uses the page.
“I get a lot of people that ask ‘What does TBH mean?’ But it’s one of those acronyms that everybody learns, like LOL,” he said.
Although there is no target number of users in mind, TBH has plans to increase the page’s visibility. Some of the plans include entering those who share the page to their friends into a draw for something like a prepaid Mastercard.
However, the greatest attraction of the page seems to be the anonymity that surrounds it. TBH hopes to one day run the page under a real name but thinks that for now, staying anonymous benefits all parties involved.
“If you’re anonymous, it basically seems like talking on an open stage with a paper bag on your head. No one is really going to judge you,” TBH mused.
“You’re actually going to get to have an opinion. If you get approval on a confessions page or on TBH, that might encourage you to actually go out and do something. It might encourage you to take action in your life.”