Melissa Harnanan is a 16 year old from Valley Stream, NY. She enjoys warm weather, cookie dough ice cream, and reading romance novels.
Recently whenever I log on to my Facebook account, many status updates include the words “Ask me questions,” or “Go for it,” associated with the link formspring.me. Formspring.me is the newest teen fad to hit the internet. Most teens that have a Facebook account are no stranger to formspring.me, which is a website that allows people to anonymously ask their friends or other people questions.
In order to ask someone questions on formspring.me, they click on a person’s link, and then they go to the big comment box, and type their question in. If they have their own account, they can sign in and make their account name visible so the person they are asking a question knows who it is that is asking a question. Or they can opt to remain anonymous and ask a question anonymously. Once someone asks a question, their question is sent to the inbox of the person they have asked a question to. The person can opt to answer or ignore the question. Questions have ranged from “What is your favorite color?” to questions that violate a person’s personal life. You would think that formspring.me would allow you to learn more about your friends, like the website says, in a positive light, but in most cases it is an outlet to comment negatively and ask people impersonal questions.
Like many of my friends, I made the mistake of making a formspring. I thought that my friends or other people that wanted to get to know me better would ask me questions to get to know more about my life, such as what I like to do in my free time, and what my ideal job is, or questions such as those. In the beginning many people asked me NORMAL questions such as, where do I shop for clothes, what my favorite color is, and such. However, after a couple of days I started receiving negative comments about myself from anonymous people. Not questions, but negative comments people were posting anonymously. I thought I was the only one that was getting these negative comments, but then I went to other formspring pages that people had posted on their Facebook accounts, and saw even more drastic negativity people anonymously posted. I have seen very mean things on my own friend’s formspring accounts. Anonymous people will leave comments such as “You’re fat,” and “You’re a slut,” or “You’re ugly, I can’t believe you have a boyfriend.” I have seen even harsher comments than that.
In some cases, the anonymous comments people have posted on other people’s formspring accounts have gotten to such a derogatory level, that the person with the formspring account decided to disable their account. In addition, my friends have been the victims of negative comments and their confidence level has been lowered. Even though they shouldn’t have taken the comments to heart, it is hard not to think about yourself in a negative light after reading comment after comment from people that can be labeled as “Haters,” or people that put you down in order to feel better about themselves, or they are just mean in general.
I believe that formspring.me is an innocent outlet to get to know more about friends, but people, especially teenagers have taken advantage of this service and instead opted to post mean and hurtful anonymous comments about other people, or in some cases their own friends. This is leading to cyber bullying. Anonymously attacking another person’s self confidence and image over the internet is a form of bullying that is cruel and hurtful. It is everyone’s own personal choice to get a formspring, but I warn against it. Even though you can ignore hurtful comments and questions from other people, the person asking the question will see that you have not answered it and will keep sending you comments or questions to your inbox, which I have seen firsthand happen to my friends. If someone really wants to know more about you, they should ask you questions in person or try talking to you in person. And if people have hurtful and negative comments to say about someone else, but they are posting it anonymously, it just goes to show how immature they are because they use an innocent internet service to bully another person.