MORE than a fifth of the town’s 25,000 population have signed up to a new Facebook page called “Spotted in Stratford.”
The online phenomenon exploded just before Easter when a Stratford-upon-Avon couple set up the page, allowing people to anonymously post messages about others they notice around the town.
Thousands of people ‘liked’ the page—which is primarily for people to tell others that they fancy them—over Easter weekend.
By this Monday, there were more than 5,600 on the page, the equivalent to more than 20% of the town. (Scroll down for our top ten posts.)
However, the posts with the most ‘likes’ and responses are not ones about attractive barmen or fit shop girls, but posts like: “To the absolute plank in the black VW Polo, doing doughnuts in the leisure centre car park will not make you look gangster, or impress the ladies. Now get a life and give your mum her car back!”
Speaking to the Herald, the couple who set it up said: “It’s gone bonkers, we set it up just after midnight on Thursday and by the following evening we were just under a thousand. Since then we have grown by at least 1,000 per day which is phenomenal.”
The pair are remaining anonymous for now because interest in the page has skyrocketed and some people were getting annoyed their posts were not being put up.
“We get on average about 20 posts an hour and then between 8-10pm it probably goes up to one per minute,” they said.
“At first they were posted as soon as we got them but it’s not manageable going forward so we now just schedule posts throughout the day and then jump on when we have time.”
Stratford’s Spotted page also spawned Spotted Wellesbourne, which has over 800 ‘likes’ and Spotted Shipston, which has over 500.
Spotted pages first emerged earlier this year at universities around the country, but they immediately came under scrutiny after people started to anonymously post crude and vicious things about others.
Some of the posts on Stratford’s Spotted account are quite sexual and not suitable for children.
The people who run it said: “We go by our own judgement, some messages we get are pretty close to the boundaries so ask them to rephrase, drop bits out or don’t post them. We ask that instead of naming, they should describe the person. We won’t let any posts go out that are pure bullying.”
Despite some gripes about poor customer service, the majority of posts are funny or complimentary.
Last Monday, Spotted set up a charity page after a retained fireman based at Stratford Fire Station had his bicycle wheel stolen. Jamie Hall used the bike to get to the station when he was on call.
He said: “Since you stole my wheel our truck has been delayed so far for a house fire and a car crash with persons trapped. Fortunately we did get there and had no severe results due to the delay.”
After a large response on the page and £76 of donations, The Cycle Studio in Guild Street managed to get him a new wheel, and Jamie thanked everyone who had donated: “Guys you are awesome. Blown away by everyone’s efforts. Thank you so much.”
Ten examples of Spotted posts (that we can print).
1. “To the really nice man who helped me start my car in Percy Street yesterday. Thanks, it was very much appreciated!”
2. “To all the Teachers and TAs at Welcombe Hills School a massive thank you for looking after the great kids you have there. To all the mums and dads you are the unsung heroes of this world.”
3. “To the guy who works in Debenhams and looks like Robert Pattinson, I think you’re beautiful and I go in to try perfume just to see you.”
4. “To the guy in front of me in Marks & Spencer. Garlic doesn’t just keep vampires away, it keeps everyone away!”
5. “To the guy who walks around town who has a mohawk. It’s awesome!”
6. “To the lad who just got saved a parking ticket thanks to the woman in Chads, I hope you gave a tip as thanks.”
7. “To the girl who was sick on Maison dance floor on Saturday night. Take a long hard look at your life!”
8. “To the street pastors, when no one else cares, you don’t judge, but help the ones coming out of clubs by giving them water and lollies and hugs! Thank you.”
9. “To the Cask and Bottle, please come back we miss you.”
10. “To the creator of this page, you’re a genius.”
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