Within the realm of social media, there is always a new hot fad that takes over and everyone begins to fangirl over it like it’s Ryan Gosling. We have seen that with Myspace (hey Tom), Facebook, Twitter, and more recently Instagram and Vine. Even though hashtags are not a social media forum, let us just agree that the # fad has taken over and infiltrated in the most unnecessary places possible. #Ridiculous. I personally just discovered a new one – Ask.fm. Okay well I didn’t exactly discover it, instead an account was made for me as I protested with “this is so stupid” multiple times. Needless to say, it did not take long for me to become addicted. This website became my new personal brand of heroine (HEY TWILIGHT REFERENCE!!!!). For those of you unfamiliar with Ask.fm, it’s essentially a website where you create a very simple profile, follow a few profiles (personal friends or people who you think are just ingeniously hilarious), and receive questions in your inbox that you then wittingly answer. Question askers (that’s not a word is it…) have the option to remain anonymous, or they can be brave and untick the “Hide My Name” box. The anonymity often leads to a storm of inappropriate comments ranging from “hey u sexy can I hit it” to “you’re so effing ugly can you go die your mom is a whore”. This is complete teenager material. So why am I, a 21 year old ‘adult’, on here? Because I have nothing else to do that’s why. And also because stalking impressive profiles is just…. so much fun! My recent addiction really got me thinking – what exactly is the point of this website and why are so many weird things happening????
Here’s my theory. On Ask.fm, emphasis for the most part is certainly placed upon the number of followers, questions, and likes (oh man, the LIKES) a profile receives. Cyber popularity is a coveted goal on this forum. Yes, Facebook with its profile picture likes and number of friends is similar to this concept but trust me, Ask.fm is a whole level above. Maybe five or six levels above. Teenagers in this age crave attention and just want to be told they’re pretty and hot all the time. It makes them feel superior and better about themselves. Sad fact, but also very true. Attaining 100K or more likes on their profiles is like winning the Golden Globe, and “Ask famous” is actually a real term to describe these “famous” teens. More than real questions, one often finds things like “Like = follow + TBH” or “Like = 5 likes + Compliment” in the inbox. These are analogous to begging for likes and compliments and essentially – attention. And to think we thought the “Like this to save Africa” posts on Facebook to be the pit of humanity. These users actually equate LIKES to human value. They’ll go out of their way to ask random people who do not know them aside from the information on their profile to send them compliments and TBH’s. TBH’s should be reserved for people you actually know. You cannot be honest with a person based on their duck-face profile picture and bio saying “I don’t take shit from no one”. On top of that, in this Ask.fm world, someone with more likes is now a better and more desirable person. Forget personality, intelligence, character, heart, and wit – I need a man with 200K likes on Ask.fm! #Standards. This logic just does not make sense to me.
On top of all this, the amount and variety of asinine questions is horrendous. Some have despicable grammar, some are so vulgar you feel dirty, and others are facepalming-ly obvious like “wut is ur name?” REALLY NOW? It’s written all over my profile, genius. Others still are just so hilarious for so many reasons. This particular one made me laugh my pants off:
Next you’ll ask me what my favorite genre of human is.
Everyone gets involved in everyone else’s drama. I’ve witnessed at least three personal wars on this website, and Ask.fm is their mutual battlefield. Random followers are taking sides without ever having had any personal interactions with either side. Call me old-fashioned but shouldn’t personal disputes be handled on the playground, face-to-face? Unless of course, you’re only using this fight to gain more public attention and of course, more LIKES! On top of all that, everyone wants to know who everyone else’s significant other is. As if knowing that information or anonymously stalking your crush will somehow increase your own chances of finding teen love and elevate your status in the social sphere. Please.
It doesn’t end there. Too often I come across a post by some anonymous fangirl/boy that says something along the lines of “OMG you’re such an inspiration to me! You’re the reason I wake up with a smile! I read the story about your struggle, and it’s just so inspiring. OMG. My hero <3″ – directed towards another teen or 20-something who’s struggle is some variation of having to study hard and overcome evil parents who put curfews on them and refuse to buy them the new iPhone (wow how inconsiderate and cruel!). I mean really, if you idolize an Ask.fm user because of their so-called ‘struggles’ which most humans regard as normal life, then you need to check yourself. Immediately. Instead of following in the footsteps of people who are actually impressive, like Abdul Sattar Eidhi, Bill Gates, and Nelson Mandela among others, you’re choosing to admire a poser with nothing more than a high-traffic Ask.fm profile. What is this world coming to? To add to the party, receivers of such comments begin to sincerely view themselves as the Mother Theresa of teenagers. If someone sent me such letters of adoration because once I had to stay up all night to study for a biochem exam and oh my gosh my life is so hard, I’d b-slap them over the internet and tell them they’re the scum of this planet.
Don’t get me wrong. Amid the mess of imbecility, there are a few gems worth following (or stalking…whatever). These are people who answer lame questions with such high class humor that I am left with nothing but aching abs because I laughed like a maniac for fifteen minutes straight. And usually these are the same people who rarely, if at all, indulge in the “like = 100 likes” nonsense. They’re here purely to entertain and pass time, with no concern for how much e-popularity they’ve gathered. A few of my personal favorites are listed below – do check them out if you can! They have mastered the art of internet tomfoolery, while avoiding the whole ‘desperate dunce’ scene altogether. #Respect.
Ask.fm is a fun website no doubt, and you can easily waste hours on it without even realizing. It would be a whole lot more fun if the attention-seeking and likes = your worth on this planet concepts could be entirely obliterated. Self-esteem should be boosted through sincere compliments in person, not through likes on an internet forum. Attention should be grabbed by sharing exceptional ideas, not posting heavily edited duck-face selfies. The youth of today hold a great deal of potential, a potential they can only reach if they stop aiming for cyber-popularity and start striving to leave a positive impact in their communities.