So there’s this new app that’s been making the rounds called Sarahah. Named from the Arabic word for Candor, the app lets people send you anonymous messages. It was started to allow employees to give honest feedback to employers without fear of reprisal, but because of the appeal of anonymity, has spread like wildfire into the new fad social app.
I think that this is a useful tool for companies. Using Sarahah socially, however, is just… well I don’t like the implications.
The website says:
With Your Friends
- Improve your friendship by discovering your strengths and areas for improvement
- Let your friends be honest with you
My problems with this are that if you’re commenting to me anonymously, how do I improve my weaker areas without knowing who feels that way. Because let’s face it, some friends are always going to feel like you don’t give them as much as others, and it’s not always on purpose, we all have limited bandwidth to work with and people fall through the cracks. (Just ask my parents how often I remember to get back to them)
Beyond that though, “Lets your friends be honest with you”? Why wouldn’t they be normally? If my friends don’t feel they can be honest with me, there’s a problem. If they are scared of me and that’s the motivation? I really need to know because then I have some behaviors that need worked on.
I mean, I get the appeal, everyone wants to set this up and be inundated with messages telling them how awesome they are, that someone finds them attractive, you have an unrequited crush. Many things that will boost the ego, make you feel great. But people are bad at anonymity, the prime lesson of the internet is that terrible people use the shield of anonymity to be the monsters they have to pretend not to be to be allowed in society. Nowhere was this more evident than 4chan and large sections of reddit.
I also feel that our reliance on anonymity and the internet is hurting our ability to communicate on a personal level. Why talk to the person you have a crush on if you can stalk their social media? With Sarahah, you don’t even have to fear rejection by telling them because you can just message them anonymously. But the only way for any relationship to work, with friends, family, or lovers, is to talk to them. Openly. Honestly. I know honesty gets a bad rap because a lot of people use that as a shield to be jerks, but that’s just an excuse.
So…. take a chance, tell that person they are amazing, ask out the cute person, tell your friend they let you down. Maybe one day we will all feel safe talking to one another.