More than a few times, I’ve had a friend ask me if I’d seen a post about me on someone else’s page.
Last week, one of my friends sent me a screenshot of someone inadvertently badmouthing me on their Ask.fm profile with plunging abuses and long paragraphs about how I belong to the worst degree of human and the kind of inhumane cunt I am.
Well, I might be. I have never considered myself to be a good person or any kind of prototypical teenager or an ideal guy. But your opinion hardly bothers me. If I’m a bad person, don’t like me. I guess that’d make the feeling mutual.
For starters, Ask.fm is ostensibly a question and answer site. You sign up, and the system allows you to pose questions that anyone else can answer, or answer questions coming from other users. It also allows you to post anonymous questions.
But the format also lets users engage each other in running battles and arguments, and to gang up bullying on each other. A user’s account can quickly fill up with a stream of anonymous, hurtful messages that may or may not be coming from people you know.
Friend – Hey man, did you see her answers on Ask.Fm?
You – No, why?
Friend – You won’t believe what she said about you!
I mostly don’t even care about other people and their subliminal thoughts. You may go and say whatever you want, type whatever you want, believe whatever you want, propagate whatever you want. You won’t see my giving a single piece of flying fuck.
But if it is any frail-minded person in my position (which is mostly the case), consequences are rarely given an afterthought.
Plethora of online hatred, flipped on you, packaged with crass words and sealed with anonymity. How would it feel? Discouraging, to put it lightly.
I wondered why anyone would get an Ask.fm in the first place. A reason could be that you were feeling insecure and wanted to know what other people thought of you. I joined the website quite a while ago and after a few months of usage, realizing how rather awful it can be, quit it. I did try best to avoid personal questions. Trying my way with some amusing answers and that was pretty much it.
But most people find it fun poking noses into everything else.
The questions are hardly ever questions.
After investigating into the suicides of 9 teenagers (8 girls) in the US following cyber bullying on this website, the police found out that one of them was asking degrading questions to herself in order to get more likes and thus be popular.
In other words, there are teens out there who are self-harassing by “anonymously” writing mean questions to themselves and then publicly answering them. This should make you stop and swallow hard. And then sit back and realize that it’s not that surprising.
Friend: “Dude, ask.fm is so funny.”
Me: “Yeah apparently so is people killing themselves.”
Friend: “If they kill themselves it’s their fault; I’m just kidding when I go on there anonymously because I don’t wanna face repercussions. I mean people call each other worthless, emo, stupid, meaningless and pieces of shit all the time, right?”
Me: Yeah, if you’re a complete spineless human being.
Now here goes a confession. I’ve been on both sides of the table. Back in 9th grade, there were little ‘Confession Pages’ trending on Facebook and every institution seemed to have one. Our school did too, and unfortunately I was one of the Administrators (who doesn’t regret the things they did in 9th grade?).
It did start out as fun, people sharing incidents and memories from school, but soon we started receiving hateful messages about people, particularly girls. I always refrained from posting such publicly, but other admins differed. But it was only after an official complaint was lodged and the CBI visiting the school to summon us, soon after one message proclaiming a student to be gay, knocked some sense into us. Being a part of it was shameful and the fact that the student left school and not heard from ever since is a testament in itself.
A website where attention-seekers can ask each other questions. Most people start off as genuinely good people, but many get addicted easily and soon become attention-seekers as well.
From some social observation, instead of sensible questions, people tend to ask ridiculous statements. From begging for views from a person on them, and rating people on a scale of 1 to 100 or listing them in order, to soliciting their list of favourite people (“your favourite juniors/seniors?”) and their list of friends or who are they currently dating or how they feel about an ex now and spreading a public opinion on someone.
Or simply begging for likes or excessive PDA.
I find it hard to understand why people are so bothered about other people’s opinions on them.
WHY do you want to seek so much approval from people who aren’t even an important part of your life? Unless of course diversifying friend circles full of superfluous and shallow people is one of your hobbies.
Perception about others is boldly announced through your actions and not through a bunch of false praises written on a public website. The people who already give a damn about you don’t need to expressively do that online. Why can’t people just understand that?
I don’t seek opinions from people and I’m absolutely fine without it.
Students need to realize there is a world outside this virtuality, a world where none of these opinions matter and all that matters is how YOU perceive the world.
What was there for us as a buried treasure, now indeed is the black hole of social networking.