Credit: University of Bath Secret Admirers
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The Secrets Behind Secret Admirers

Have you ever scrolled through the ‘University of Bath Secret Admirers’ page hoping to catch a glimpse of your initials? Or maybe just your hair colour or degree course …we can all fit ourselves to these descriptions somehow.

Credit: University of Bath Secret Admirers

Bath Time decided to uncover the real secrets behind the page which fuels hopes of romance and deliciously intriguing gossip all across campus. Here’s what we learnt:

How did the page originally start?

The Uni of Bath Secret Admirers page was setup by a fresher on the 20th of November 2014. For 2 and a half years the page was run solely by that admin before several of us were recruited last spring to form a team. During this period, over 100 people applied to be an admin! Since then, the page has continued to grow as shown by our following of nearly 12,000 students.

How are posts filtered?

Lots of people believe we have special bots that do everything for us, we wish that was the case too! Every post that is submitted must be read by one of our admins. After reading it, we then choose to reject or accept the post based on our humble opinion – a bit like tinder’s system, but without the catfishes! Once given the green light by an admin, the submission is then automatically placed into a posting queue on our system where a simple algorithm will gradually upload approved posts throughout the day onto our Facebook page. This is ideal as it helps with spreading out posts between 9am and 7pm each day.

On average, how many submissions do you receive per day?

At the time of writing this, we’ve received around 3000 submissions in the last 30 days – so around 100 submissions a day! Approximately 40-50% of these will never see the light of day. The 100 submissions per day is just an average as it does vary a lot throughout the week. Mornings after MNB and Score are understandably very busy whilst weekends are usually quieter. As submissions increase, we have recently been more selective about what we put out so that we aren’t overloading people’s timelines.

Do you know of anyone who has got into a relationship following an admirer’s post?

We know of a few people who have got together from the page and they have personally messaged to thank us! In practise, it is quite difficult because everything is done anonymously so it’s almost impossible to match people up. Going by initials or what they were wearing at the gym last Tuesday isn’t specific enough to narrow it down. As admins, we don’t actively try to match people anyway. At the end of the day, it’s down to what the individuals do when they see a post about themselves.

What’s the fundamental aim of the page?

4 years ago, there was never an end goal and there still isn’t today. It’s always just been for fun and we’ve allowed students to mould the page with the type of submissions they send in – each year/month there seem to be different trends. Recently, we have been using the platform to promote things like mental health support, advice for students and raising awareness of good causes.

Have you ever used the page for your own benefit?

Believe it or not, none of the admins have ever personally gained from the page in terms of meeting an admirer. That’s not to say we haven’t submitted a few posts of our own though… Dating aside, we have been offered paid advertising on multiple occasions, but this will never happen. As fellow students, we hate adverts!

How secretive do you like to keep your identity?

We try our best to hide admin identities! We want people to see the page as completely anonymous, where students can freely submit their opinions/thoughts etc. We feel that people would be less inclined to submit certain types of posts if they knew who was reading and approving them. However, it does get very difficult trying to hide your identity when you’re on campus and accessing the page.

What is your favourite ever submission?

That’s like asking what your favourite grain of wheat in a whole field is! Hold tight Theresa May. In terms of popularity, last year someone submitted a Glynis meme with the text “tag a friend and if they don’t respond in 1 minute, they owe you £468,000 per annum, a rent-free house and unlimited biscuits”. This post took off like a duck on red bull. It’s easily one of our biggest posts, having reached 1.5 Million people with 87,000 comments. Ladbible better watch out.

Who do you ‘admire’ the most at the university?

Do you know that grey haired guy who is usually by arrivals square? He’s an absolute G. He always guides people to the right U1 bus as some of them go to town and some go to Oldfield. Regardless of the weather, he makes sure everyone gets the right bus and he’s just a nice, genuine guy. He’s not the hero we deserve, but the hero we needed.

What’s the key to an eye-catching post?

Firstly, you’ve got to make it past our ruthless admins! If it’s rude, boring or includes full names then you’re already out – we take no prisoners!  If you look at any of our successful posts, they’re always funny and relevant to most university students. Posts like “to the girl who took it too far and chundered outside score” will always do well because you read it and think that definitely sounds like my friend, I’ll tag them as a joke! As the post gets more tags, it shows up on more people’s timelines and just exponentially grows. Basically, just be original, funny and relevant – easy peasy right?

Is running a page like secret admirers plain sailing?

Yeah, not quite… In the past we’ve had to deal with the SU after an election candidate got a sanction because of a post on our page. Last semester we also saw BathLive turn one of our posts into a news story – that was quite detrimental to us. It’s undoubtedly made us more wary of the content we put out. However, as humans we are bound to make mistakes. When you’re reading 100 submissions a day, every single day, it’s very easy to miss something!

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