Freshmen use Facebook to look for missed connections

Rajya Atluri

After meeting a girl in Jester East, riding the elevator with her and never getting her name, Ben Montero decided to post about the experience on the UT Class of 2020 Facebook page, asking his peers for help in finding her. 

“Me as a person — I’m a very quirky guy,” said Montero, a theater studies freshman. “I didn’t want them to think I was weird or something. I was like ‘I’m really curious who this girl is, so hopefully I’ll find her.’ My gut was telling me: Just do it.”

These “missed connections” posts have appeared multiple times on the Class of 2020 Facebook page, said Beth Waldman, communications coordinator of Student Success Initiatives. Waldman, an administrator of the Class of 2020 Facebook page, said she also manages the pages for the other classes at UT but has only seen these kinds of posts with the current freshmen. 

“From what I have observed in the last three months, you know students are always making connections through the Facebook page, so I would say that ultimately it is a platform for (finding people),” Waldman said. “We’re happy to see people engaging with each other and trying to making friends.”

Montero received more than 140 likes and 20 comments on his post, and even got messages from people living in Jester East offering to share his post in other groups. Although he never found the girl, Montero said he was happy with the positive response he received from his peers.

Not everyone felt that way, however. Theater studies freshman Carrington Quezada said she did not support his post and felt inclined to comment because she knew Montero personally. 

“It’s a case to case basis,” Quezada said. “I think that it’s kind of inappropriate because if somebody called me out like that I would be uncomfortable because I feel like the person getting called out is more inclined to do something they don’t want to do because they’re pressured by a whole student body of people who are like ‘aw, this is so cute!’”

Mathematics freshman Abby Gail Trino had a similar experience to Montero last semester. She was in Kinsolving when she heard a boy playing a song she liked on the piano in the lobby. Trino half-jokingly offered to record him and make CDs out of the songs he was playing. Their conversation got cut short when another girl started playing the piano, and Trino never caught his name. 

“I was like, ‘You know what, this is so stupid and I’m probably going to cringe about it later, but I’m going to try it out’ so I made the post,” Trino said. “I thought it would be cool if we became friends.”

Trino decided to post on Facebook because she had seen other similar posts, like biology freshman Teresa Vu’s, which had the hashtag #FindWaterBottleBoy2k16. 

Vu was looking for a water bottle at the College of Natural Sciences fair when a boy handed her his, which later encouraged her to try to find him.  

“I just thought that was a small act of kindness,” Vu said.

Ever since her post, Vu tries to support others with similar searches.

“Every time someone posts something like that, I always support them,” Vu said. “It’d be a cute love story to tell your grandkids.”