A new website is becoming popular, and this website is dangerous. Formspring.me: it’s addictive, fun, scary, and often hurtful.
The site was created earlier this year as a way to ask people questions that you never had the courage to ask, but the site is rarely used for questions. It is more commonly used by insecure girls who want to learn what people think, and by these girl’s peers, who use the site to spit nasty insults, without having to claim consequences for their words.
One who wishes to use the site must sign up for an account, and then personalize a profile with a picture and a background image. After signing up for a profile, the fun begins.
The site is an anonymous question forum. There is a box on each user’s profile that allows a person to write whatever comment they wish about the owner of the profile. The profile’s owner then replies to whatever comment is sent to them.
The question and the user’s answers are displayed to whoever views the site. The site gives the option of hiding comments, but this is frowned upon by many Formspring users. Refusing to respond to negative comments is looked as refusing to “face criticisms.”
Most users post the link to their formspring profile as their facebook status. This way, all of the user’s Facebook friends have easy access to the link. A username with the site is not needed to make comments, only to receive them.
Although it seems harmless, it is very dangerous for one reason: Comments are completely anonymous, and when people’s identities are hidden, they tend to over-share.
While some people are flooded with compliments, other people are attacked with insults.
“I never knew how many haters I had until I made a form spring,” said one anonymous formspring user. “I got so many mean comments about how I’m ‘so mean’ and ‘ugly’. I tried to make it look like the comments didn’t bother me in my answers, but that stuff really hurt.”
Keeping a website that houses hurtful comments does not seem appealing, but people are so addicted to knowing what other people think, that the website becomes irresistible.
Cole Harris, junior, admits to using formspring. “I have one because I’m curious to know the truth from people, like how they really feel and what they have to say,” said Harris. “Yeah, it has hurt my feelings, but I know that in the end, the negative stuff people say doesn’t matter. People are always going to say bad stuff, but this is the closest thing to saying it to my face.”
Formspring can either inflate someone’s confidence or rip apart their self esteem. Overall, the question remains: Is the occasional compliment worth making oneself vulnerable to unfettered criticism?
The reason why people resort to formspring is simple. Everybody wants to be well-liked, and everybody hopes that they will be the one person that never gets a mean comment. The hope of being well-liked lures people in, and “the truth” keeps them addicted.