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I guess we should talk about this goofy Sarahah thing, huh?
Because the world needs more anonymous abuse, er . . . "constructive feedback."
Raise your hand if this is what you've really wanted all along: It's well and good that you can rip on people via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but what a drag that they have to know it was you who did it. Gosh, if only there was a way you could tell other people what worthless pieces of garbage they are . . . and leave no fingerprints whatsoever.
It's the quintessential manifestation of our culture, so I guess Sarahah was inevitable:
Sarahah is the latest popular anonymous messaging app. Its creator, Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, told Mashable that he originally intended it as a way for employees to give their bosses constructive feedback to help encourage honesty in the workplace. He later decided to make it available for anyone to send messages.
Tawfiq said that he wants to create a more positive environment than other anonymous apps.
Why is everyone talking about it?
The app has exploded in popularity since it was made available in the app store in June. The app store said last week it's currently the top app in 30 countries.
Sarahah began in Saudi Arabia, where Tawfiq is from, and spread to other Arab countries, eventually getting an English version.
The app received a bump in popularity, according to Mashable, when SnapChat released an update which allowed users to share a link in a snap. This means you can share a link to your sarahah account in SnapChat.
How does it work?
Creating an account generates a link to an individual's comment page. Users share links to that page on their SnapChats accounts, Facebook pages and elsewhere so their friends know where they can leave comments.
Once comments are left, they appear without attribution when you open the app.
Do I have to create an account to use it?
You have to create an account in order to receive messages but not necessarily to leave them.
If someone's account is public, anyone can leave a comment. However users can turn this option off by making the account private so that only users they have added can leave messages.
This is really just another way for the Beltway leak culture to express itself, isn't it? American society has decided that people who hide behind anonymity are more trustworthy than people who will put their names with the things they say. So our news no longer comes from attributable sources we recognize. They come from "a person familiar with the situation who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter." But we believe Mr. Not Authorized To Speak because he's eschewing the party line, even though we have no way of knowing if he's honest or not (except that we do know he disobeys the policies he's told his bosses he would respect).
Sarahah? Same thing, right? You can't believe what someone tells you to your face because . . . why? They're too concerned about how you'll react, I guess? They don't trust you to take it constructively? Or better yet, you'd rather not be constructive. You'd rather be abusive and nasty, and that's much easier to get away with when no one knows it's you.
I suppose it's possible that the inventor really was foolish enough to think people would use this in a "positive" way, but come on. Have you seen Twitter lately? What does that turn into when no one knows it was you who made the comment?
Then again, I suppose it's possible that Sarahah eliminates the phenomenon of people publicly mocking or scoffing at others just so they can get the congratulations social media offers when you really zing someone good. That means Sarahah will be even meaner, but less entertaining, since there's no point wasting your best humor in a forum where no one will know it was you.
Here's a scenario to ponder: A high school student is the target of a particularly nasty Sarahah message, and genuinely has no idea who wrote it. The next day at school, the student becomes a walking fount of paranoia. Wounded by the attack, on top of the insecurity we would already expect from your average teenager, he or she spends the day eyeing every single person in the building with fear, suspicion and loathing. Who was it? Your rival? Your best friend? That person you were thinking of asking out? Your own sibling? By the end of the day, we're on the verge of Columbine.
The only winner here is Mark Zuckerberg. He appears to be off the hook in the worst-idea-ever sweepstakes.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!