News - January 17, 2013

50.000 likes for Gespot:UB

Working hard in the library can be a bit dull. Until that gorgeous blonde walks in, or that broad-shouldered Adonis. To chat them up would be too daring. So what then? Now you can flirt with them anonymously on Gespot:UB.

Gespot:UB is the latest Facebook hype in the Netherlands. You can send a message (Dutch or English) to the webmasters and they will put it on Facebook, where you will remain anonymous. All Dutch universities have their own pages now, although after a flying start - almost 1000 followers - the response at Wageningen University is no more than lukewarm.
Jaap Kabbedijk first launched Gespot:UB at Utrecht. 'There was a group like this in Dublin and we wanted to see whether it would work here. We bought advertising for five euros and last week we got the 50,000th like, spread over all the pages. Groningen and Utrecht have had 10,000 each.'
Kabbedijk is fairly overwhelmed by the success and particularly by how time-consuming it all is. 'In Utrecht we sometimes get 40 relevant messages per hour.' For this reason there is now a whole team of webmasters who place the messages.
There are differences between the universities. At Nijmegen, the messages are mainly sweet and sometimes written in verse,' says Kabbedijk. 'At Amsterdam they are much more direct and suggestive. And there are more messages between two boys or two girls.' Of course Wageningen distinguishes itself by references to nature. 'That girl in the blue jumper near the globe, you look a bit like an otter but I do find you attractive!'
Why Wageningen is lagging behind in the number of messages sent is anyone's guess. Maybe it is such a small community that everyone knows everyone. 'But then it is still quite a big step to go up to someone,' reckons Kabbedijk. He harbours a secret hope that things will liven up in exam week. 'When students are revising they want a bit of secret excitement.'  NM
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