'Nice" tweets take hold at Park, East Ridge high schoolsNearly 300 people are following the Park Nice account (@wolfpacknice), where students are tweeting positive comments about the school and their classmates.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
When students in the western Twin Cities suburbs launched Twitter accounts bashing their high schools, other teens started a counter movement in 140 characters.
Since then, “nice words” have been breaking out on Twitter, including in District 833’s Park, East Ridge and Woodbury high schools.
Nearly 300 people are following the Park Nice account (@wolfpacknice), where students are tweeting positive comments about the school and their classmates.
Twitter is more popular with high school students than other online social networking sites, according to Phil Kuemmel, Park High School activities director and a Twitter user himself.
It’s not clear who started the Park Nice account. Kuemmel said it might be an athlete because many of the tweets are in support of kids who play on Park sports teams.
Park girls soccer team members said they too think an athlete might be behind Park’s account.
Before practice last Friday, many players said they checked Wolfpack Nice to see who is getting compliments. They also like the fact that tweets are anonymous.
Erin Diamond said the account is “cool” and Emily Burazin said it’s “a good idea.”
“It makes everything positive,” added Anna Keys.
Sydney Wilie said people gain confidence when they read something positive about themselves.
“It means more when you don’t know who wrote it,” said Jasmine Wilmes. “Of all the people in the school, they chose you.”
Emma Waller and others said the Twitter account is a departure from so many negative things.
“It can make someone’s day,” she said, “and, it’s cute.”
Kuemmel said the site is positive for the students who can reach out to other students without standing out or having someone know who said it. “It’s good to nice it forward,” he said.
There is a down side, however, because when something is positive, a negative site will be created. There is a Twitter account that features negative tweets about Park, but neither Kuemmel nor girls on the soccer team know the account name.
The phenomenon is even more popular at East Ridge.
There are more than 700 followers to the East Ridge account called ERHS Nice Words.
It’s the effort of Tyler McKeever, a student who started it to raise discussion about bullying. McKeever said he’s been bullied for his religious convictions. He hopes stepping forward will change students. Twitter was a great place to start, he said.
McKeever also has a personal Twitter account, “but it’s all drama,” he said, and full of negativity.
ERHS Nice Words has opened some students’ eyes, he said, to see how special people really are and that they should have a sense of belonging at the school.
McKeever also campaigns for the site by advertising it on morning announcements and putting notes on student lockers.
“I want everyone to feel they are a part of it,” he said.
Bulletin reporter Amber Kispert-Smith contributed to this story.