Doherty Compliments Aims to Spread Positivity



@doherty_compliments account page as of November 17th

Marynn Krull, News Editor

In today’s day and age, Instagram and Twitter are popular and effective means of distributing information in varying communities. Doherty High School operates many Twitter and Instagram pages for most of its clubs and organizations. Doherty’s newest student-lead page is an unorthodox one, meant only to spread positivity between students. 

@doherty_compliments_ takes compliments and kind words from students through Tellonym, one of many anonymous constructive feedback websites, and reposts them on their Instagram page for students to see. To ensure students see the kind things said about them, each caption includes a happy message telling students to tag—or to comment the username of— the person mentioned.

Websites like Tellonym have been around for a few years on social media. Other popular variations include Sarahah, Yik Yak, and Incogneato. Students have created their profiles like @doherty_compliments_ and posted the link on their Snapchat or Instagram stories for friends to leave anonymous comments on about them. Often students see a mix of replies. Depending on the person, students see a range of kind words to hateful remarks. @doherty_compliments_, however, uses Tellonym as a platform for entirely kind and uplifting remarks. 

The page has grown exponentially since its inception, standing now with almost 200 followers as of November. @doherty_compliments_ has posted about 30 screenshots off their Tellonym, with three to four compliments per post. Nearly every post has comments from students tagging one another and thanking their anonymous admirer. 

@doherty_compliments_ agreed to do an anonymous interview via direct message. On what inspired them to create the page, they said, “I think it is important for everyone to feel loved and appreciated. These compliments can change a person’s day. In the world we live in, there’s so much hate [in addition] to so much love. Hate is always what’s looked at and not enough love. I’ve been through the days of not wanting to go to school, being scared to go for the simple fact of how mean students can be. We’re going through hard times physically, mentally, and emotionally through these years, but making others smile is such a blessing.”

A frequent name on the compliments page, senior Gena Howard, says, “I think that seeing it on the Doherty Compliments page has a more positive impact, because people on my own Snapchat or Instagram polls are mostly my friends, but the Doherty Compliments [ones] are [from] people who aren’t necessarily my friend or somebody I talk to.” 

Submitted anonymous comments about Doherty students and events.

Many may be wondering, “Why keep it a secret, why not just tell them in person?” @doherty_compliments_ says “[Anonymity] is important because people can get things off their chest. It may be hard for someone to talk to someone they like, or a friend, etc. I hope this can help all students express the way they feel, and make someone smile while doing it.” For some, posting comments isn’t about getting relief for themselves, but giving it to others. “I have submitted some about my friends who were going through harder times and needed a pick me up,” says Gena Howard.

Ben Courtright, a sophomore who also appeared on the page, said, “It made me feel nice. I felt like people cared about me. [I would tell the account manager] that it’s a nice thing to do, and it helps people. It’s just nice.” 

Mrs. Wilson, a junior/senior counselor at Doherty says, “Creating a culture at Doherty where students and staff encourage and support each other is one of the most important things we can do. Relationships are fundamental to our experience as humans and positive messaging is a great way to build relationships with people…This campaign is a great way to ‘even the scales’ so to say. To combat so much of the negative messages there are out there towards youth.” 

In previous years, students have made positivity projects like taping uplifting sticky-notes to lockers or in other places around the school. Last year, some staff members wrote positive messages on bathroom mirrors. @doherty_compliments_, however, operates on an entirely different medium via social media. 

While innovative and effective in today’s online world, operating a platform like @doherty_compliments_ comes with its own set of potential issues. The anonymity online that grants safety to those leaving kind comments, also keeps those leaving unkind ones without repercussions for their words. To those with apprehensions, Mrs. Wilson said, “I think as long as there is a person reviewing the comments before posting, this idea is great! Of course the most important this is to screen the comments to ensure that there are no underlying negative messages, such as a passive-aggressive attack that is presented as a compliment…Friendships in high school are so foundational to how we learn to develop relationships with others throughout life. What a great way to intentionally create these relationships by giving compliments to those we care about.”

“Practicing gratitude has been shown to have powerful positive impacts on our health. By intentionally thinking about and recognizing the people or things we appreciate in life, we can reduce our stress, change our perspective on life, and even decrease our blood pressure! The more we can practice gratitude and a positive attitude, the happier, healthier we will all be!” says Mrs. Wilson.

“Come to my page and leave a compliment or two. For all you know, you could make someone’s day. Let’s spread more positivity and help the next one up. WE BEFORE ME, we are spartan strong!” says @doherty_compliments_

More anonymous comments left by Doherty students.