Mystery Twitter spreads positivity at high school
Most Twitter accounts use their 140 characters to “tweet” about the latest celebrity drama, or news stories that have gone viral. There are even still the occasional play-by-play tweets that narrate every waking minute of the user’s life, from what they are eating to what they are thinking. But a new Twitter account that surfaced last month has only one mission: spreading positivity throughout the Panorama school district.
Several weeks ago, a Twitter account called PHS Polls made its way around Panorama High School’s hallways, releasing polls that asked students to vote on questions about their classmates. Some questions included who the prettiest and ugliest girls in school were. Others targeted specific people, and at times, posts got hostile, according to sophomore Brooklyn Behrends.
“It was just mean, some of them were really rude,” Behrends said. “Like things you can’t even say. It was a mess. I don’t know who thought of this, I mean, why?”
When Behrends and fellow sophomore Emily Smith decided to stand up for another student who was caught in the cross hairs of a poll, they became the target of the account. Both of their names were featured as options in a poll that asked “Who is the most likely to be offended by this account?”
“They didn’t really come at us any other times, which was good, cause’ they were mean,” Smith said. “They didn’t really care, and they were zeroing out people.”
Only a few days after the social media negativity began, an account called Positively Panorama — run by an anonymous person — appeared, bearing the description, “Pointing out our classmate’s perfections in 140 characters or less. This page is strictly for compliments only, NO negative comments. Go Panthers!”
Since opening the account in early February, Positively Panorama has focused its attention on forging healthy relationships with Panorama High School students, faculty, and sports teams, and spreading kind thoughts throughout the school district as a whole. The account follows teachers and students alike, frequently retweeting posts about extracurricular activities and school updates. Birthday shout outs, student spotlights, random compliments and encouraging good luck posts to Panorama sports teams are common on the page.
“It is just nice to see positive stuff instead of negative,” Behrends said. “They said I was super nice and pretty.”
Smith added, “People are wanting them to say something. They said I’m always smiling and always make other people laugh and smile. I don’t know if it’s true, but it made me feel good.”
A student council member eventually reached out to the account holder of PHS Polls and requested that they shut down, only to become the next person the account went after. She decided to unfollow the account, and as time went on, more and more students did the same, shifting their attention to its positivity-minded counterpart. Positively Panorama now has 154 followers.
“I am disappointed about the negative tweets, but I am proud of the way the student body has responded, especially whoever is running the Positively Panorama account and their followers,” said Panorama Middle School and High School Instructional Coach Kylee Boettcher. “I think (Positively Panorama) can be very powerful. Technology can be a very helpful tool, or a hurtful master. But I think kind of using their power for good, it can be positive for most students, whether they’re going through a hard time or feeling lost.”
Ever since Positively Panorama got started, rumors have been flying about the identity of the person behind it. From students to teachers to an adult in the community, theories have been endless. But an interview with Positively Panorama (held via Twitter to protect the account holder’s anonymity, which they intend to keep) put the curiosity to bed. They were willing to announce that they are in fact a student at Panorama High School, more specifically, an upperclassman. Although bullying is not something that happens frequently at the high school, PHS Polls — and the hurtful conversation it spread — was enough to motivate Positively Panorama’s account holder to take action.
“I started my page to make everyone smile after they had mean, and false things said about them,” said Positively Panorama. “I hope to achieve making people happy, and just making everybody have a better day!”