Green Majors

Happy New Year to all. I report with stellar news for neurotic parents everywhere: Just in time for 2013, the crapshootiest year for admissions decisions yet, the moms and dads on the website College Confidential have moved on from stressing about where their kids are accepted.

They now have something much more realistic and attainable on their minds: The clever folks at CC have finally distracted parents from the awful college process by instituting an addictive PacMan style popularity contest.

How does it work? If someone "adds reputation" by clicking on your post, you collect points that lead to the accumulation of a row of tiny green squares. And these happy squares are smartly reminiscent of the feel-good scattergram squares that Naviance uses to symbolize college acceptances. Doesn't hurt that they're also ivy colored. 

I must confess that I have joined the race to acquire greenies and have given up my day job, my Words with Friends obsession, hassling GC about summer internships…and even feeding my kids, who are only home for a few more days.

How proud I am of my eleven (out of a possible twelve) verdant squares, some emerald, some jade. Along with the squares comes a powerful validation – Mine at the moment is "much to be proud of."  Others are "a glorious beam of light," "a name known to all," and the ultimate: "a reputation beyond repute."

I have achieved this recognition by posting helpful advice – how to get an internship in the film business, the name of a reliable cab company in the college town I know so well. (I have also defended the field of English to those who want to force their kids to be neurosurgeons…material for a future post.)

But the majority of green rep I received was a result of just falling in with the right crowd.  These influential souls – some the true matriarchs and patriarchs of CC – are concentrating less on random ED decisions and focusing on something they can control – powering each other with points. With each infusion there's a private comment, and also public posts like, "CantConcentrate, I just pushed you up to 3 greenies! Happy New Year!"

If you love the same person twice in a short time period, you get a message that says "You must spread some reputation points around before giving to confettijym any more." If that happens, it is customary to let the would-be recipient know about your intent and the reason for the delay: "Just tried to hit you, psychedmom, but got shot down. Will set the alarm for 3:00 am and try again then!"

One poster, Curmudgeon, theorized that this system was created by someone "young, bold…and on crack." But I think CC is on to a bigtime metaphorical life lesson. How do the movers and shakers of the world aquire and maintain their reputations?  It's all who you know, baby, and who you can help in return. Just find the right buddies, on and offline, and in no time you too can have a reputation beyond repute. Who knows, maybe even the colleges will abandon their dartboard approach and adopt a greener system of admissions.


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