We’ve seen plenty of Montclair State University-related social media accounts gain popularity and fame in the last few years. Instagram accounts such as @memesofmontclair and @montclairredchawks have gained quite a following among the Montclair State student body. However, both Instagram accounts certainly haven’t reached the notoriety and fame that @montclairstateconfessions obtained over the last few months.
The Instagram page, created by Montclair State sophomore Justin Watson, has given students a chance to anonymously air out some of their most private and personal secrets. The account is an open forum for any and all students to submit whatever they please.
These submissions range from the memorable moments they’ve had on campus to mature and private matters such as sex, drugs and more. Some have even used this as a way to criticize certain aspects of Montclair State, such as Greek Life, residence halls, other students and more.
Submitting a “confession” to the account is very simple. Students can go onto Montclair State Confession’s Instagram account and click a Google Forms link at the very bottom of the bio.
When filling out the form, students must give their major, year and include their confession. Watson does not know who is sending him these confessions, simply because he doesn’t ask for a name in the form itself.
While many of these posts may come off as bizarre to those who come across them, this hasn’t caused any hesitation from Watson to share these stories out to the world.
“When people tell me that they want to post on the page, I try to tell them that this is their page and they can [confess] to whatever they want to,” Watson said. “If people are opening up and sharing their stories, no matter what it is, I’m all for it.”
Emily Dolan, a freshman television and digital media major, believes the page could be more mindful of what confessions they decide to release to the public.
“They shouldn’t be accepting such explicit content and posting it,” Dolan said. “[The confessions] could all be lies and even if it’s real, someone could be hurt by the content put out there.”
Despite the criticism of the page’s explicit content, it is no secret that these bizarre confessions have created a massive following among students. The account has already reached over 1,800 followers, as more and more students have discovered the account.
Watson’s motivation for creating Montclair State Confessions was to create a community where every Montclair State student can come and share stories, ideas, complaints or whatever they please. He also believes it can be hard to connect with people in college, particularly at Montclair State, which has over 16,000 undergraduate students.
“I wanted the page to be a place where everyone can know what goes on around [campus] and stay connected with each other,” Watson said. “I’m trying to bring groups of students together so that they have one common thing to share.”
Watson’s inspiration for the account came from a friend who attends the University of Buffalo in upstate New York, who mentioned that his school had a similar Instagram page that made an impact on the university as a whole.
“When I saw the way the account was being run, it made me realize that a similar idea for our campus had the potential to help students,” Watson said. “Not everyone is comfortable to say what they have to say in person.”
Kylie Wester, a sophomore public health major, agreed that the page has made some progress in bringing the students of Montclair State together.
“I think it’s brought the community together in a sense,” Wester said. “Some of the stories are relatable stories to what others are dealing with themselves.”
Watson has also expanded the page’s content beyond just confessions. He recently created a “mixer” post in which the goal was to try to help students look for friendships or romance. He also has done polls, Q&A’s and more.
Watson ultimately plans to hand over the rights to the account when he graduates. He hopes that whoever he chooses to take over the account in the future can continue to carry his vision for the page.
“I’ve had plenty of people who say they’ve wanted to even start helping out with the page now,” Watson said. “I have to really trust that person to keep the vision of the [page] going.”
He also credited the student body for helping to make his vision for this page a success so far.
“When you create something like this, you have to assume the community will give it a chance,” Watson said. “They have, and they are the reason for the success of this page.”