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Formspring: the latest form of internet anonymity

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Recently, a large number of my facebook friends have fallen victim to what seems like the newest internet phenomenon–“formspring.” At formspring.me, one can set up a page on which any internet user can post a question aimed directly at the person whose page it is. The catch is that one need not have her own formspring to post a question on someone else’s,  which means that more often than not, questions are posed anonymously. As most of us have come to observe or experience firsthand, in the internet world, anonymity equals cowardice. The result is people posting offensive questions/statements which directly insult the owner of the formspring page. The owner gets defensive and offends the interrogator right back, and this continues back and forth until full out war rages–on one formspring page! Of course, the fact that the bully never has to reveal his or herself makes the ongoing war inevitable–people will say anything so long as its anonymous. And that’s unfortunate.

The concept of formspring is, I think, ridiculous to begin with. I mean, if someone is friends with someone else, what prohibits them from asking a friend a question face-to-face, or even via some other technology like telephone,text message, or instant message? Those who are not friends with the person should have no interest in his or her personal life–at least not when it comes down to the most private and intimate of matters, which is more often than not what formspring questions are geared towards. It’s a shame that such an opportunity is possible on the Internet–but there’s no way to stop it. People thrive on drama. Does anyone remember “guestbooks?”  For me, that was the trend back in middle school, and it yielded the same results as formspring seems to be now–full out cyber-war, ruined friendships, and crushed identities.

If people are mature enough to answer personal questions and handle insults as adults, then maybe formspring isn’t the awful site I’m vilifying it as right now. As much as I’m against most of what goes on on these sites, I’m not going to say I don’t regularly check especially drama-filled formsprings–they’re ridiculously amusing . Just consider it the “Jersey Shore” of social networking sites.

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Written by meganwarne1

March 24, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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