In a recent poll, students at Newcastle University were asked whether they found the submissions posted on the anonymous Facebook confessions page Newfess more or less engaging than a range of mundane tasks.
Given the ever-growing popularity of the Facebook page, it may come as a surprise that a whopping 86% of respondents claimed they would be more interested in watching paint dry than reading a Newfess post.
“I’m not saying all the posts are boring,” said English student Tom Clark. “Sometimes an edgelord posts some pretty good bait and it all kicks off in the comments, and you get to see the incels arguing with the lefties.
“But most of the time, yeah, I’d rather sit back, relax, and watch a fresh coat of Wickes do its thing.”
Watching paint dry was far from the only popular alternative. Of those polled, 72% said they would prefer doing the washing up; 65% would rather put the bins out; and 53% went so far as to say they would derive more enjoyment from actually working towards their degrees.
“It’s just, like, do the people submitting the confessions know about dating apps?” first-year sociologist Lucy Smith wondered. “I don’t care how long you’ve been single or what your kinks are, keep it in your Tinder bio. And how exactly do you think you’re going to pull someone on an anonymous confessions page anyway?”
An unnamed postgraduate student had a slightly more sympathetic view.
“I’m glad that Newfess exists,” he explained. “Especially for those sharing something personal that they’re not comfortable discussing with friends or family. But what I can’t stand is all the gossip. TM likes this, HW loves that, ER has a foot fetish. What are we, 13 years old? Is this Formspring? Wait, do people even know what Formspring is? Have I just outed myself as a boomer? Oh dear. Can you keep my name out of this?”
These poll results raise an obvious question: if the student consensus is that most of the content on Newfess is dross, what is it that keeps hundreds of people visiting the page every day? Jamie, who will be resitting first-year psychology in the upcoming academic year, was keen to give his take.
“People like crap,” Jamie offered. “That’s the gist of it. We like stuff that’s bad for us. Not just students, but like, as a country. We smoke, we drink, we vote for the Tories. And we spend all day on Newfess. That’s just how it goes.”
However, although browsing Newfess was far from the most popular option listed on the poll, it did rank above a few other activities. The results show that Newcastle students found the idea of endlessly scrolling through Newfess around twice as appealing as attending an NUSU Student Council meeting, and three times as appealing as going to a show produced by the university’s Comedy Society.
“At least with Newfess you’re just reading a load of boring drivel,” third-year medic Jade explains. “You don’t have to sit there and listen to it for two hours.”