Formspring: An Opportunity to Connect Wasted
May 13, 2010
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Have you ever done baton twirling? These kinds of questions are what the popular Web site, Formspring.me, was made for. Formspring lets anybody say anything to anybody else anonymously, and it’s completely uncensored. At first, the site seemed like a fun way for people who might otherwise be awkward around each other in real life to break the ice, but if you’ve been on Formspring, then you know it’s grown into something else.
The fun, interview-style questions have turned into nasty comments, bullying and name-calling. Because you don’t have to attach your name to “You’re a whore and everyone knows it,” it’s easy to say just about anything—things you would never say to someone’s face—and assume that there are no consequences. But the last time I checked, hurting someone’s feelings is a consequence.
Formspring has the potential to make friendships blossom. In an ideal world, you could learn fascinating facts about someone you’ve always wanted to talk to and then reveal yourself in person, like writing letters as a secret admirer with a technological spin. Instead, Formspring is too often used to vent anger or get revenge.
It’s really a shame that such a cool opportunity to make friends is being wasted because people use their anonymity to tear each other down.