Cambridge Compliments

HELEN CAHILL wants a uni-wide sabotage of Cambridge Compliments, the latest pointless gimmick to hit Facebook.

Cambridge Compliments editor Facebook john bardsley Tab

Is Cambridge Compliments the new Father Christmas of Facebook? It claims to be ‘spreading joy’ throughout the student body. If it manages to convince you though, you’re probably deluded or drunk – in other words, you have the mental capacity of a child.

For those who are unaware, the idea is to submit a few kind sentences about someone, and then they’ll add that person and tag them in a status with your message. This tribute then lingers on the newsfeed of anyone else mindless enough to accept Cambridge Compliments’ friend request, like the left-overs of cheesy chips bought after a night out.

Apparently, this counts as ‘spreading joy’. Presumably, the delight felt by the message’s receiver is meant to be shared by everyone that reads it. See for yourself by looking at these:

If you’re not Steph or Sarah and one of those made your day, you must have had a bad one. If not, then you’re too easily pleased. In what world does a status like this really deserve five likes? I read them with indifference, as I’m sure many people do. Why do the naïve inventors of Cambridge Compliments think that constantly broadcasting small acts of kindness will make us all jubilant? When I think of good ways to please masses of people, Jesus converting water into wine springs to mind. Cambridge Compliments is the equivalent of Christ giving one person a glass of wine, and then shouting about it to everyone else.

Not only is this service ineffective, its very existence is just insulting; it implies is that we’re unable to express goodwill without Facebook. Are we all dumb-struck toddlers at risk of wetting ourselves if we praise someone in public? Then, having failed to communicate in the real world, we’re incapable of using the functions Facebook already provides. Perhaps we’re too stupid to find the @ sign on our keyboard, so we can tag someone in a status of our own. Or, like a shy teenager who gets friends to approach girls for him, we’d rather remain anonymous when telling someone we like them.

Either way, we have to get somebody else to send our message. So, Cambridge Compliments becomes a Facebook postman – making it as ludicrous as a horse-drawn car. Funnily enough, this unnecessary addition to Facebook describes itself as a ‘social project’. Not only is the idea of an online university love-in unoriginal, Cambridge Compliments is dependent on the first and best version ever created. So, like a flesh-eating zombie from 28 days later, they’re parasitic on what they’re imitating. Only somebody too young to know who Mark Zuckerberg is wouldn’t appreciate the irony.

I would say that the answer to my original question is ‘yes’. Cambridge Compliments, like Father Christmas, is a charming fantasy. Maybe an infant could find it amusing, useful or clever. It would be patronising to suggest that any student take it seriously, though. We’re only amused by the finer things in life, like swaps and Cindies. So, unless you have the intellect of a child, I would say a fair response is sabotage. There have been a few attempts already, but here’s my personal favourite that had one member of the Tab team reeling.