When I first saw an acquaintance requesting anonymous feedback from others via social media I didn’t think much of it.
I actually started thinking of nice things I would say to this person who I went to college with and have watched blossom into a creative, amazing individual. But I got busy and didn’t even click on the link.
That was one week ago from the dateline on this paper. Since then, I’ve seen a dozen or more people posting links to their own pages created using an app called Sarahah.
It got me wondering — first, why? And secondly, why anonymously?
I should take a step back and explain this for those of us who don’t have “teen” in our age. I had to Google the service to find out that apparently the app was created by a Saudi Arabian developer as a “constructive anonymous feedback platform.”
The platform began as a website for employees to post anonymous feedback to their employers and not face retribution for their comments.
Sarahah (which translates to “honesty” or “candor”) was released as an app in June. It can be tied into another popular messaging app, Snapchat (which I coincidentally also don’t have).
Everything is anonymous and users cannot respond to messages.
And where there is anonymity, people tend to get nasty really quickly.
In the app store on my cellphone, the app is targeted toward teens and says “Sarahah helps people self-develop by receiving constructive anonymous feedback.”
It’s unclear if only your acquaintances can leave comments or if anyone with the app can leave a comment.
I asked on my own Facebook page if anyone had gleaned anything helpful by using Sarahah. Some people said they received nice comments, but others weren’t as lucky.
One person’s mother was told she should have aborted her child, who screenshot the comment and posted on their own page, publicly. Others shared stories of their friends’ experiences, who had mixed feedback.
A lot of what I saw were juvenile posts asking women really personal, sometimes vulgar questions or anonymously flirting.
Another former app user messaged me privately to tell me they had deleted their account because they received a threat. Again, this is all anonymous.
Other websites said the app has essentially, like those before it, become “a hotbed for cyberbullying.” And apparently services like this aren’t even new.
I’m not a bandwagon person at all, so I’m not surprised that I don’t know a lot about this type of app. But I do know better than to think every single person really loves me and has my best interests in mind.
I also know better than to solicit comments from people online. People can be mean. Anonymous people can be really hateful. After some reflection, my advice would be: just don’t.
Your friends think you are great, even if they don’t tell you often enough.
If you have something nice to say to someone, do it.
And if your friends are decent humans and they want what’s best for you, they will have what might be an uncomfortable conversation with you to help you “self-develop.” You will know that whatever they are saying is because they love you, or vice versa. You also will be able to ask questions and explain your own point of view.
Finally, be kind. Remember, if you have to hide, there’s probably a reason.