#1234 Looking For Love16 July 2018
If you are someone who automatically opens up Facebook when you are procrastinating, you may have already noticed a student-created Facebook page centred around love, gaining traction in the last couple of months.
With over 11,000 likes as of July 2018, UniMelb Love Letters has managed to capture the market of bored university students hoping to live vicariously through their peers.
Established only three months earlier, the admins were inspired by the success of Monash University and the University of New South Wales’ Love Letters pages and decided to create a localised version.
Despite facing some competition to get off the ground with other students launching similar ideas at the same time, ‘Sausage Roll’, one of the admins I spoke to, believed it was “a couple of successful letters” gaining traction on UniMelb Love Letters at the very beginning that helped their page get ahead of the pack.
Since then, approximately 3000 letters have been submitted. After removing spam messages and conducting general quality control, Sausage Roll estimates that about half the submissions make the cut to publication.
From that point on, it is entirely up to the community and posters’ luck to determine which posts will go viral. It is certainly hard to predict, even for the admins, with successful letters ranging in content from genuine confessions to crushes and heartfelt advice, to humour and satire about the same topics.
Ashwin Chhaperia, a Bachelor of Science student, is a regular contributor to the page. He has sent and received several love letters with his most popular submissions gaining hundreds of likes.
He discovered the page, like many others, after he was tagged in the comment section of a post. Soon after, Chhaperia began submitting his own content, starting with a “joke” love letter addressed to a good friend, just for “shits and giggles”.
His first proper submission however, sent a much more serious and important message.
The submission was post #1381 and it was addressed to everyone on that page reminding them that they are special and that their family and friends love them.
After a close friend attempted to end his own life due to the stress and pressure he was facing at University, Chhaperia wanted to use UniMelb Love Letters as a platform to spread kindness, support and friendship.
“It felt really nice seeing that I made some people smile and feel good about themselves,” he said.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, UniMelb Love Letters is also well-liked for all of its memes. Chhaperia admits one of his personal favourites is the satirical love letter addressed to an anonymous, male, commerce or law student decked-out in Gucci gear where the sender hopes to be the ‘Louis to [his] Vuitton’ and wants to “(Gucci) slide into his DMs.”
Ultimately, the majority of the letters posted currently are still legitimate love letters, so I decided to challenge one of my friends, Aliana* to send one to her crush.
Aliana, never one to half-arse a task, was the author of post #1091 where she openly praises her crush using choice statements such as: “No words can describe the happiness I feel from encountering such a fine specimen during my lifetime.”
Her motivation behind writing the letter, aside from the fact that I suggested it, was because she couldn’t get him off her mind anyway.
“I couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about him. So, I thought by writing about him, I could at least get rid of the feelings that were making me all hot and bothered—did not happen.”
Upon reflection, Aliana described her mixed-feelings after the letter went live, both wanting her crush to see the letter but also being relieved that he wasn’t tagged in it. In fact, she believes the mixed feelings are what makes a platform such as UniMelb Love Letters as thrilling and captivating as it is.
“I think it’s awesome because it depersonalises the sender…[but] it’s like a breadcrumb trail that will lead your crush to the love letter (assuming he/she is a stalker like you).”
In Chhaperia’s instance, this has actually happened and he is aware of several love letters addressed to him. He still remembers the first letter clearly.
“My friends tagged me and that’s how it came to my attention. Not going to lie, reading that letter was exhilarating.”
For the sceptics who may doubt a Facebook page’s power to create offline romance, Chhaperia admits that he did end up contacting the sender and “it turned out really well.” His advice for genuine love letter senders and recipients is therefore to not give up.
“Please don’t lose hope. Things can, and usually do, turn out well.”
So if you have a person you want to get out of your head or a thought you want to get off your chest, perhaps you can look towards UniMelb Love Letters to find a trustworthy confidant and welcoming vibrant community.
*Name changed for privacy reasons