The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Susannah Lonac says she created SPU Confessions
By , Staff Reporter
Published: May 1 2013
For the past four months, Seattle Pacific students have been sending freshman Susannah Lonac their deepest secrets and asking her to post them on Facebook.
“I attempted to kill myself early Friday morning,” one said. “I feel trapped behind the mask people see and my true emotions.”
“Over break I had sex for the first time,” another said. “I’m scared. I don’t need any more secrets in my life.”
After months of reading thousands of student confessions, Lonac has decided to reveal her identity as the administrator of SPU Confessions, a Facebook page devoted to anonymously sharing confessions that students submit because they feel they have no other way of sharing them.
Along with revealing her identity, Lonac said a company has offered to buy the administrative rights to the page.
Lonac started the confessions page in the early morning hours of Jan. 20. She got the idea after talking with some high school friends who attend a large public university.
They told Lonac about their school’s confessions page and how it had quickly gained popularity. Lonac said her friends touted its benefits of providing a haven for students’ emotions and an outlet for stress and emotion.
So along with freshman Taryn Vis, Lonac started a confessions page for SPU on Facebook, similar to PostSecret, where people send in their deepest secret on a postcard.
Washington State University has its own version called “WSU Secrets.”
Within 48 hours of launching the page, Lonac had 400 followers and more than 400 anonymous submissions through SurveyMonkey. Within the week, she had 600 followers and more than 800 submissions.
Now, the page has more than 980 likes and thousands of submissions.
“It was weird to log in and find 600 notifications waiting to be read,” Lonac said. “I would probably spend a minimum of three to four hours a week reading and organizing submissions.”
As the page grew in popularity, other universities, and even companies, started contacting Lonac. She was invited to join a Facebook group of confession page administrators that included University of Oregon, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and the University of California, Irvine.
Then Lonac said she received a call in March from Whisper, a mobile application that encourages students to anonymously share secrets with others on digital postcards.
Lonac said Whisper offered her $1,000 for full administrative rights to the page, but the company denies that claim.
Sarah Attman, a spokeswoman for Whisper, said she searched her email and couldn’t find any record of offering to buy SPU Confessions from Lonac.
However, Lonac showed The Falcon a Facebook message she received from a “Sarah Whisper” saying she worked for Whisper and wanted to talk to Lonac about a “potential opportunity.”
Lonac said that potential opportunity ended up being an offer from Whisper to buy the page.
The Falcon was unable to determine, by print date, if Sarah Whisper is Sarah Attman. Attman said Whisper has reached out to other confessions pages but denies contacting Lonac or making her an offer.
Lonac said she’s received other offers from companies, although Whisper’s alleged offer was the highest.
“It was a tempting offer,” Lonac said.
“But people were still submitting,” she said. “It was still going strong.”
But by early April, Lonac said the submissions slowed to about 200 a week. Also, the page only added 30 likes in March.
Lonac said she’s become busier with difficult classes and is again thinking about selling the page.
“I don’t feel like [the page] is needed as much as it used to be,” Lonac said. “The students here are moving on.”
“I think I will, too,” she said.
Lonac was recently campaigning for secretary in the Hill Hall Council elections but asked Residence Life to remove her name from the ballot because of issues related to partying. Lonac said she didn’t feel her actions lived up to the standards of being a leader.
Lonac did not elaborate on the specific actions that she felt disqualified her. Several other students said Residence Life involuntarily removed them from the hall council elections for similar reasons.
Mark Reynoso, a residence life coordinator in Hill Hall, said the reasons for students’ removal are confidential.
Lonac said all previous posts would be deleted from the confessions page if she sold it to Whisper. Whisper would own and manage any submissions made after the potential sale.
Lonac said she never expected the page to last as long as it did or become so popular. She said she hopes the page let students know they aren’t alone.
“It was a humbling experience that I was happy to provide,” Lonac said. “I am SPU Confessions.”
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