4/6/10




i've been hearing about formspring for a while now until the other night i decided to get my own account. formspring is a free networking site, designed in a very similar format to twitter, where anyone can anonymously ask you a publicly posted question and you simply answer. at first i was like, this could be fun and it's going to become just another bloody distraction. then you start thinking; oh god. what if someone starts posting me things that are going to make me want to kill myself? FUNNY YOU THOUGHT THAT BRITTNEY, for late last night i stumbled across this article. i don't know if you've heard the recent news story about a 17 year old american girl committing suicide due to constant bullying, both at school and online. well a police department in suffolk county n.y. have recently discovered that she had a formspring account. it might've been a huge contributer to her taking her own life. 

from http://news.cnet.com: 
"A police department in Suffolk County, N.Y., investigating the suicide of Alexis Pilkington, 17, might consider Formspring.me as a factor in her death. According to the Associated Press, Alexis was receiving harassing messages before her death last March 21. Her family insists she was troubled before the cyber bullying, but authorities are looking into how the anonymously delivered messages influenced her suicide.
Formspring.me launched in November 2009 and immediately made its way into Tumblr blogs as an integrated feature. Subscribers use the Formspring box to ask blog publishers questions about themselves or the content they publish
Jolie O'Dell of ReadWriteWeb attributes one of the reasons for widespread adoption to "our deep and insatiable love of self-reference." It's one of the biggest reasons for the success of Facebook, and now it's what Formspring is based on: me, me, me, me...me.
Self-reference can be found in the foundation of many social media, like status updates, blog entries, and Tweets. These all form our online identity, but when we publish those things, it's because we consciously choose to. On Formspring, users don't decide when to share their thoughts; they wait for their peers to demand it. It's an opportunity to reveal things about yourself that you want people to know, but would likely not volunteer.
Self-reference and gaming elements are what engage and retain those who answer questions. But what attracts the askers? Anonymity. Users can anonymously tell someone how they feel about them, or something they feel they should know. They can ask questions they'd be otherwise too embarrassed to ask. But, worse, they can also fill a user's in-box with hate mail, harassment, or other inappropriate statements.
After browsing Formspring.me, it seems as though teenagers are doing exactly that."

it is kind of petrifying, isn't it? the beauty of the internet has always been that you can do or say whatever you want because you're hidden behind a computer; this is how hate mail was invented, this is why losers go on message boards for hours just to insult people in the most vulgar way if they make something as small as a typo (i found it funny; sorry i spelled patent leather wrong, bitch) but now that we all have a completely public invitation to ask anyone absolutely anything, and our identities are kept under wraps, it's gonna get ugly. i'm just waiting for someone to ask me something really gnarly. it'll be entertaining. i've already been asked if "THE CARPET MATCHES THE RUG". you idiots.

so here we are! i have a formspring account. ask me anythang.

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