Sarahah. The first time I heard about it, I thought someone misspelled Shawarma. It was an honest mistake, it happens. However, once I was thoroughly educated about the app, I signed up for it nonetheless. The name, Sarahah, stands for ‘honesty’ and is interchangeable with ‘frankness’ in Arabic, and aptly so since the developer of the app works in the gulf, and came up with it to provide honest feedback in the workplace.
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.Oscar Wilde
Honest Feedback. These two words defensively define Sarahah, but, as everything anonymous goes on the internet, it is being used widely by everyone, and not just to provide “honest feedback”.
Now, I’ve used Ask.FM, so I knew exactly what I was stepping into, signing up on an app for anonymous “feedback”. The various kinds of feedback I got is why I am writing this blog, not to glorify the usage of the app that was used to send a rape threat to a girl, but to understand exactly what I felt and why every time I got a notification of a message on Sarahah.
The good messages are the ones that everyone waits for and uses Sarahah for. Let’s be honest, it’s a major ego boost. Anyone who says that they only want to listen to criticism about themselves is a filthy liar.
So far, so good, now, the app is meant for constructive criticism from your workmates. So, as long as it is wonderfully worded, a bit of criticism doesn’t really hurt; specially if you intend to say it to someone that you normally wouldn’t talk to candidly - like someone higher up in the food chain.
The kind of good messages I got mainly were that I’m a jovial person, that I’m doing a good job and that I’m pretty. Again, so far, so good. These were the messages left by good friends, by supportive colleagues, and it was turning out to be nice. Definitely got a smile on my face. Not the “honest feedback” the app was made for, but then again, I’m not complaining.
Now of course the app is going to be misused, but more about that in the next section. The bad messages that I’m talking about are the ones that either make you angry for a few seconds or make you feel indifferent - thus dismissing them - towards the sender, whether you know them or not.
Unfortunately, in my case, I do believe I know some of the people, or rather the person, who may have left them. I’m going to use two examples of these messages.
Okay, firstly, I’m one of those people who didn’t decide their career path while they were still hormonal teenagers who did things because they were cool. Sure, I was lucky to have been afforded the chance to study what I liked and then decide on what I want to do in life. And, hell, I’m still figuring it out.
Also, what is wrong in interviewing people outside cinema halls or stadiums or even on the roads? There is such a thing as ‘vox populi’ (thank you college degree) and it is one of the oldest forms of knowing the opinion of the general populace. Anyway, if my rant got you bored, watch this, or this, or this.
Most of you may say that I shouldn’t consider this a bad message, but it’s the kind that you, or at least I, don’t want to be at the receiving end of. Here’s the thing, if people want to make things better between themselves, pick up the phone and make that call. Why use the medium of an anonymous app to let your feeling be known? This where signing up on an app such as Sarahah makes you feel stupid.
Ah, the Ugly. The sexiest, racist, basically the hate, that one can viciously spew from behind the veil of anonymity. This is the misuse of the app. Of course, anything being told anonymously on an app is to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt, but I won’t deny that it got a rise out of me for a few minutes.
Everything gets attacked. From my phone to my choice of men. Cool. But what about the annoying, creepy, disturbing, stalker-y ones? No dearth of that. The one below is a message that not only made all my girl friends laugh out loud, but also ruined one’s appetite. Also, warning: we girls share all the details. All.
And these messages aren’t even half of what I received. As the quote early on says, the true nature of a man only comes out when he wears a mask. The mask of anonymity provided by Sarahah.
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