Social media is constantly evolving and being used in new ways. It has always been seen as a way to connect, often with friends from different locations. Most recently, users of Facebook have created pages drawing attention to various aspects of our campus. Overheard at McGill, McGill Compliments, Stuff McGill Professors Say, Spotted: McGill Libraries, and more have all drawn attention to different people or events occurring across campus. These feature random acts of kindness, funny overheard conversations, and heart-warming compliments. While other community-building activities have been attempted in the past, these pages have risen organically, and created an experience that connects all sorts of people.
There is often concern that today’s university students are increasingly disconnected from each other. We’re constantly on our phones, we don’t value face-to-face interactions, and we’re wrapped up in our own selfish digital world. Stemming in part from this is the worry that McGill campus is losing its ‘community,’ and is simply a place to attend class and get a degree. These pages counteract this through the very conduit that is labeled as ‘the problem.’ They draw attention to the kindness of strangers, the funny moments, and the hard work that everyone is putting in. It is fostering a sense of solidarity that wouldn’t have been possible before Facebook. People in Engineering can relate to Arts students’ lives, and vice versa.
I remember working in the library well past midnight a few weeks ago, incredibly stressed out, and convinced I would never finish my essay for the next day. I went on Facebook quickly, just as a mind-break, and saw a post on Spotted: McGill Libraries about how hard everyone in the library was working. It was a huge boost to my confidence, and I couldn’t help but smile. I’m positive many students on campus have shared a similar experience as mine. These compliments are valuable, letting letting people know that they’re amazing, or that their hard work is noticed.
I once caught my professor say something ridiculous, and just as I was about to send it to Stuff McGill Professors Say, I noticed three other people already sending it off on the page. We all shared a look of glee when we realized we had the same thought. These kinds of moments bring together complete strangers, they create moments that make people smile, or laugh, or truly touch them.
McGill is more than a place to get a degree. It is a place for meeting new people and building close ties with them. It’s a community you can rely on, either to share good news, or to help support you in times of need. All these pages, while simply entertaining upon first examination, actually represent fundamental aspects of McGill. They support, entertain, and band together students across faculties, residences, and extracurricular activities to facilitate sharing across the entire campus. In the form of tiny posts coming together and creating a large community, these Facebook pages are banding together students from all branches of life.