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What’s Making Sarahah Go Viral?

More from Saurabh Lall

For the past week, our social media feeds have been flooded with Sarahah feedback posts. Some of the interesting ones that I read about others were- “I love you. I could never say it.”, “You know, my heart skips a beat every time I see you.”, “I see you every day. Seems you are my favourite dream.”

Now, let me quickly put things in perspective for people who were busy in the past few days and have no clue what we are talking about!

What Is Sarahah – The App?

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. The founding team believed 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.

Why millions love Sarahah?

What got it viral, seducing millions to start using the app, was the fact that you could write to people anonymously.

Now, we all are absolutely self-obsessed. We live in times where most of our day goes in scheming about building a ‘likeable’ façade on social media rather than socialising itself. This app takes the trip to another high. Just browse around and read the kind of Sarahah posts that people have put up. 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 fact, if you know someone closely and you read a certain kind of  post, you seem to doubt if users themselves wrote the feedback!

So essentially, Sarahah has become another self-glorification tool, further pumping the digital-social adrenaline within us.

The Shocking Realization

Every globally successful product or service has always solved a problem or catered to an innate human need or want. So I started thinking what are those needs or wants that Sarahah fulfilled that made it so popular! I realised this:

  1. Most of the people are assumed to be dishonest in person.

  2. Lack of courage to speak our mind is identified as a barrier.

  3. Honesty has become so delicate that we need anonymity as an incentive.

  4. People have a tendency to be dishonest, even when they are anonymous

The Impact

Sarahah has become hugely popular. However, we humans can’t have anything straight. So what was started as a tool to gather honest feedback is now being used to vent frustration, enmity, be disrespectful and for cyber bullying in a lot of cases. People receiving constructive feedback are far outnumbered by frivolous comments. Sarahah though is still going strong! It is in our nature to explore things which have dark sides to them. If you are a boss or at a position of authority, just be little careful about participating in the Sarahah wave.

Sarahah Shows What We Have Become

The phenomenon of Sarahah has brought the spotlight on the following:

i. Honesty now needs an app! It is no more a human quality, but more of a one-off indulgence under the convenience of anonymity.

ii. We have become timid. We lack the courage of a face-off with reality and are afraid of being judged.

iii. The promise of actual human interaction has gone down. Increasingly, we need external assistance and tools to openly share our thoughts, which often for want of a ‘face’ to it, could be misinterpreted.

iv. We were absolutely not interested in other’s lives till the time suddenly this magic tool Sarahah appeared. Now, we want to give ‘feedback’ which is often abuses, anger, sarcasm, putting-down comments etc. We just need a garb to secretly reveal our bad side. Actual human interaction helped us keep this very trait in check.

v. Our self-obsession has surpassed heights of Everest. Fabricated selfies and forced likes were enough and we just don’t need to manipulate more tools to satisfy our belief that the world indeed revolves around us because it doesn’t.

The Conclusion

Unknowingly, Sarahah has brought in some hope as well. For any problem to go away, we first need a realisation that there is a problem.

I hope that once the frenzy of this app dies down, we would introspect and evaluate that probably we do need to switch back to the good old honest ways, where honesty was a two-way street.

Till then, spend time with people who are actually with you and not analysing comments from your so called well-wishers who didn’t have the courage to tell you something constructive to your face.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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