In conversation with @confess.mclean

The story of a new Instagram account McLean student flock to in order to share their deepest secrets

Visiting the @confess.mclean Instagram page gives viewers a rare look into the minds of McLean students, who use the page to open up about their crushes, complain about their least favorite teachers, and vent about homework, all common themes in the lives of teens. The account started gaining popularity in September, and since then, it has grown to boast over 700 followers. The account gives students a platform to anonymously share their secrets and opinions via a Google Form. The only piece of personal information the form asks for is the student’s grade.

The founder of the account, who wishes to remain anonymous and is identified in this article as Confess, started it over the summer after being prompted to by a different friend. It is currently run by Confess and a friend who was recruited to help keep up with the constant flow of confessions that the page receives.

“It all started during the last days of summer. My friend who goes to a different school and I were looking at my online friend’s confession account because it was full of funny stories and drama too,” Confess said. “They asked, ‘What if we made a confession account for our schools?’ I said that it would be a great idea, but that it was kind of risky too. I tried not to think about it too much since I knew people wouldn’t know me anyways.”

Teens often feel as if they are surrounded by constant judgment, so the ability to share their thoughts without social pressure can be refreshing.

“I like that [the account] gives people a chance to express themselves, and no one can directly come after them,” sophomore and Confessions follower Nimera Shanil said.

The account also gives students the opportunity to look at their own community from new perspectives.

“I’m enjoying it because I’m not really tuned into most of the drama going on at McLean, so the account lets me get a glimpse of what’s up without getting me tangled into it,” junior and Confessions follower Andrew Evans said.

However, the confessions account isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes, people submit confessions that others find hurtful and unnecessary.

“The most annoying part of it for me is the people that submit confessions that completely ignore the whole anonymous thing, because when the name in there inevitably gets edited out that confession doesn’t really mean anything anymore,” Evans said.

Overall, though, viewers enjoy the posts and the opportunities they provide to open up and have fun.

“My friends and I often joke around about things we should send in and I sent something about one of our friends which was an inside joke,” Shanil said.

It’s a relaxing and cathartic social space that doesn’t take anything too seriously.

“It adds a touch of lightness to our community,” Shanil said. “It’s funny and its pure purpose is for entertainment.”

McLean Confessions’s emphasis on anonymity extends to its creator.

“Only 10 people know my identity, and they’re all my friends,” Confess said. “When I told them that I owned it, they were really shocked. One of them was even shaking me! It was funny to watch their faces drop.”

Since the interview, Confess’s identity has been revealed to several more students thanks to a meet-and-greet they held at McLean’s homecoming dance. Confess later posted selfies they had taken with followers, making sure to hide their own face.

As of October 27, they have almost 800 followers and have posted over 1000 confessions. Balancing the regular responsibilities of a teenager while running a popular local account has at times proved difficult.

“I get really busy every now and then, ” Confess said. “Handling so many confessions without posting is such a hassle.”

Still, Confess enjoys the experience overall, especially getting to connect with viewers of the page.

“I love interacting with people in my DMs. It makes me feel happy that they like talking to me despite not knowing who I am,” Confess said. “I would love to meet each one of them, but I’m too shy and scared to do that. They’re all funny, and I appreciate every single one of them

They hope to maintain the account as long as they are still in high school.

“I’ll keep it active for as long as possible,” Confess said. “Maybe until I graduate at least.”

For now, their experiences so far have been exciting and rewarding.

“[I appreciate] everyone being kind to me,” Confess said. “I’m glad each and every one of you enjoys this confession account.”