Feb 2013

If you live in Singapore or are in anyway related to the National University of Singapore (NUS), you probably know what I am gonna be talking about. Yes, it is about the super popular Facebook page created by NUS students called “NUS Confessions”. This page did not just acquire 12,520 likes in less than 15 days but also made “confessing” a trend among students. For the benefit of those who haven’t still come across this page (and hence gotten addicted to it!), let me explain a little more about NUS Confessions.

NUS Confessions is a page that allows anyone to submit an anonymous confession through a link. The link just has a simple form where people can submit any kind of confession, be it about a girl they have a crush on or a professor they think is funny. The admins of the page (who are NUS students) then post the confession on this page if they feel it is appropriate.

So, what makes me write about this? The page was started on 26th January 2013 and within less than 15 days it already has 384 posts and is engaging about 79% of its fan base. This definitely excites the marketer in me and makes this an amazing case for me to explore from a marketing point of view. There are 2 key things that makes this page so successful according to me: anonymity and interesting “crowdsourced” content.

#1 – Anonymity

Many a times, there are things that people want to say but they just do not end up saying them because they think it might be too embarrassing, controversial or inappropriate. By making all the entries anonymous through the submission link, this page removes these limiting factors which encourages people to share anything they would like. Anonymity gives them the freedom to express exactly what they want to without having to take the responsibility for it. So, if you have a look at the posts that are on the page, you will see a lot of interesting confessions by students about their daily life. They talk about university services, professors, friends, and even topics like relationships and sex. These are thoughts or opinions that people might not be very comfortable sharing in real life and this page just serves as their platform to get it all out! Hence, it is not surprising to see a new post on the page every few hours and to see a newsfeed filled with posts from NUS Confessions.

#2 – Interesting “Crowdsourced” Content

Content that a page offers determines the kind of fans it attracts as well as the how active the fans are. Churning out interesting content on a regular basis can be a challenging task, but this is made so easy with the concept of “Crowdsourcing”. Crowdsourcing on social platforms like Facebook is not new. Pages like 9GAG also use crowdsourced content but they usually give credits to the person who contributed for the post. NUS Confessions has also used the same strategy of gathering content from the crowd (fans) itself but the difference is that it is anonymous. This page taps on the student community to generate interesting content and this has been working very well for them. Their fans being students as well can relate to the content posted on the page and so they are more likely to comment on or share the posts. The graph below from the SocialBakers report for the page shows the increase in the sharability of their posts ever since the page started.

The increasing popularity of the page has not only made everyone on Facebook talk about it, but it has had impacts on the offline world as well. The picture below shows the post which informs students where they can buy condoms on campus.

Apparently after this was posted, the particular store stopped selling condoms and this led to a huge controversy about giving students access to contraceptives on campus. It was covered by the Straits Times, Asia One, Yahoo Singapore and many other major online news sites and most of them have references to this post from NUS Confessions. And what’s more, we made our next Happy Hour around it!

My Take as a Student

As a university student, I feel that it is great to have a page like this since it starts so many conversations. Conversations, that otherwise will rarely take place in the real world, just because people are too shy or it is a “taboo-ed” topic. Sure, there is an overload of posts about crushes and being gay (that are hilarious most of the times) but there are many other posts where students discuss about their student-life without any inhibitions. I have never seen such a huge portion of the NUS community come together on any other platform and I feel like I know so much more about all the fun/controversial/interesting things happening on campus.

And, it is not just NUS students who like confessing. There are similar pages from the other universities, like NTU Confessions and SMU Confessions. So, it doesn’t look like this buzz is dying out any time soon. NUS Confessions is viral, fun and addictive, making it my new favourite pass-time! So, with this, I am going to get back to enjoying some of their new posts and maybe submit a confession myself! 😉


Khyathi Nirmal Kumar

Khyathi is the Lead for the Technology & Education verticals at Happy Marketer.