For the past week, my FB newsfeed has been flooded with ‘Sarahah’ feedback posts.
For those who have been busy and don’t know what I’m talking about, Sarahah (which means honesty in Arabic) is an app available for Android and iOS and according to a BBC report, already has more than 300 million users worldwide. It enables people to request anonymous feedback, comments etc on themselves. So, if I have installed and registered on this app, I will share it on my social media profiles and you can, anonymously, write anything to me.
Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, the designer of this app, defends it saying that this will enable people to share honest thoughts and improvement pointers for the user, thereby creating a world with a ‘better-us’ than we were pre-Sarahah.
It is a noble thought indeed. People around us, often have things that they want to say to us – but are unable to, due to different reasons. The ‘anonymity clause’ Sarahah comes with has opened the space for everyone to reach out to us and say things that they couldn’t otherwise.
The messages can be mean, funny, interesting, humorous, gross, anecdotal – basically anything under the sun. Interestingly, a majority of them are compliments, secret crushes, long yet undisclosed admiration about their personalities, work, attitude, etc. Very few have posted actual feedback. In some cases, this has given rise to cyber bullying too. This is hardly ‘constructive’.
Some feel too clever that they are anonymous, but messages like above would give you out easily
Sadly, we have reduced Sarahah to another self-glorification tool, further pumping the digital-social adrenaline within us. What was started as a means to gather honest feedback is now being used to spew venom, vent frustration, enmity and be disrespectful. People receiving constructive feedback are far outnumbered by frivolous comments. The ‘mask’ which this app allows us to wear has, in fact, revealed our ugliest faces.
We need to ponder upon some basic questions amidst all this rage for the quest of honesty on Sarahah.
Does honesty need an app now? Is it no more a human quality? Have we become so timid that we lack the courage to face the reality? We were absolutely not interested in others’ lives till the time suddenly this magical tool appeared and now we’ve donned on our secret cloak to spew hatred. Actual human interaction helped us keep this very trait in check.
I hope once the hullabaloo of ‘Sarahah’ dies down, we would introspect and evaluate that probably there’s a need to switch back to the good old honest ways, where honesty was a two way street.