Thursday, April 01, 2010

I quit you too, Formspring

I have decided to close my Formspring account for the following reasons:

As you may have heard in the news, a teenage girl in a town in Massachusetts committed suicide in January. This girl was so harassed by her schoolmates, both to her face and over social media, that she felt she could not continue her life and she hung herself in her closet.

In the wake of this horrific turn of events, there have been several stories in the news regarding cyber bullying and its role in our current society. On one of these stories I learned of the practice of trolling. I had previously thought I had witnessed the true definition of trolling over at Formspring so you can imagine how shocked I was to find out that there are even worse things that people do. For instance, trolls have been known to ‘troll’ about the internet looking for memorial sites for the recently passed and post horrific, mean, disrespectful trash to those sites even if they never knew the person. I can’t even remotely begin to express how sick I find this. I also learned that social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook have a history of working with the authorities to try and stop these heinous crimes. And they are crimes. President Bush, for all of his faults, signed a bill into law that states that harassing someone anonymously with the intent to annoy is a felony. A FELONY!! Now, I get it that this is an imperfect law that is practically impossible to mandate, but at least it is a step in the right direction.

So here’s why I feel I need to leave Formspring. Formspring is a platform that not only allows, but encourages people to ask questions anonymously. But beyond basing their social media outlet on the anonymous question, they do NOT support members, parents or even law enforcement in taking action against people who abuse their system.

The girl who committed suicide in Massachusetts may or may not have had a Formspring account and regardless, she certainly was harassed on Facebook. Her bullies went so far as to deface a memorial page made in her honor. How indescribably horrific this entire situation is for her family. In the past few days a group of teenagers have been charged with her death because they were unable, even if they had tried, to hide behind the anonymity of the internet. As a mother who would be absolutely devastated if her child were attacked in any way, no less anonymously with no way to find the bully, I cannot support this site any longer.

I hope you understand my reasons for leaving and I encourage you to continue to ask me questions through this blog.


Coasting anon


  1. I completely respect your decision. While I'm sure there is fun to be had from Formspring, it's left a bad taste in my mouth as I've seen person after person receive anonymous mean questions. I really think it's breeding negativity and, as you said above, there's no need for another tool for that nastiness.

  2. I saw the same news reports on the Today Show the other day and I felt the same sick feeling. The fact that people can be so hateful and void of any sympathy for the families of these poor kids... it just makes me incredibly sad that people like that live in this world.

    I received my first snarky/hateful anonymous question on Formspring the other day, and it upset me... and after 2.5 years of blogging, it's really the first snarky encounter I've had. I realize how lucky that makes me, but just that one question has taken over my thoughts for the last few days. I can't even IMAGINE what it's like to be bombarded with such questions on a daily basis, or to have lost a loved one and see hateful lies being spread about them on the internet (from strangers, no less). I think I'm gonna be done with Formspring, too. It's just a breeding ground for hate since they clearly state that IP addresses are not tracked.

  3. I think it's great you are quitting formspring. I am continuously shocked to see such mean spirited questions. Whatever happened to 'if you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all?'. I seriously believe today's society is missing that integration of courteousness in everyday interactions. It's so SIMPLE! kindness goes so much farther than negativity.

  4. Good for you! What a great gesture.