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!
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.
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.
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:
Most of the people are assumed to be dishonest in person.
Lack of courage to speak our mind is identified as a barrier.
Honesty has become so delicate that we need anonymity as an incentive.
People have a tendency to be dishonest, even when they are anonymous
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.
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.
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.