Tagged: sarahah app
August 16, 2017 at 8:19 am #6919
When I first joined Twitter in 2014, ask.fm was floating all over my timeline. People would post questions on your profile and you could choose to answer them. I received some rather interesting ones, ranging from “What is the name of your tooth fairy?” to “What is your bra size?”. All these questions were anonymous. Early this year, the anonymous feedback site sayat.me started doing the rounds amongst teenagers in the United States. Schools warned parents about letting their kids use the app because it became a medium for uncontrolled online abuse.But since last week, another anonymous ‘feedback’ website called Sarahah has taken over the internet. What is so different about this? It’s aimed at providing ‘constructive feedback’ from friends and co-workers. Within a few hours, people started posting their profile links on Twitter and Facebook, inviting people to give them the said feedback. Sounds pretty straightforward, but as with all things internet, nothing really is.
Sarahah (Arabic for ‘honesty’) slowly turned out to be a double-edged sword. As with ask.fm and sayat.me, Sarahah, too, rushed gradually to abusive shores. Many commenters went down the misogyny hole and stayed there, anonymously.
I too signed up for Sarahah (as a social experiment) and deleted the app within 48 hours. Here’s why: One of the first messages I received was this:Either this is a highly elaborate joke or a massive bullying tactic. Since I wasn’t taking this experiment too seriously, this had zero impact on me. But that’s not to say similar messages wouldn’t affect others.
And yet, I waited to get more messages, to hear what things people have to say about me. You know, like looking up what the horoscope has to say about the fault in my Virgo stars today even though I don’t believe in astrology. Good ol’ self-indulgence.
The Sarahah message Almas received anonymously. Image procured by author.The Sarahah message Almas Khateed received anonymously. Image procured by author.
The app does have its fun moments though. I received a message saying,”I wanted to ask you out but now I’m not sure.” Umm, and anonymously sending me this message is going to clear my doubts how? Two of my friends, Chennai-based model Vaishnavi Prasad and Mumbai-based journalist Almas Khateeb, received messages with heavy innuendos, that they both laughed off.
While these naughty-nice messages elicit a laugh (or a barrage of them), some messages have genuinely been encouraging for Prasad and I. Appreciation of work, improvements on achieving better tone in writing were some of my mission-accomplished moments on Sarahah. And like me, Prasad looked forward to hearing more from people — the good, the bad, the downright fetish-y.
But feedback isn’t the only reason people use Sarahah. They’d display screenshots of the feedback they received anonymously. Naturally, non-users started their chee-chee thoo-thoos self-righteously about users trying to validate how “cool” their lives were by displaying the number of messages they seemed to received. All of which would hold ground only if you took yourself too seriously.sarahah
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