Monday, February 17, 2014

Online Confessions

Recently I have been reading a book called "Alone Together" by Sherry Turkle. She has brought many good points that I have either agreed greatly on or only slightly disagreed. This past week I read a chapter discussing a new topic regarding online confessions and the effects it has on its users.  Online confession sites are places where people can go and post confessions about things that have happened in their life. Most of the time, the website lets the users post anonymously. This helps the poster feel that they can really confess something without anybody in their life finding out. Sometimes, users can post and comment on another person’s confession. They can give feedback, or unfortunately express their anger at the confession. These are almost like a catholic going to confession, without the priest.

Many people who use these sites are bored, lonely or just looking for answers in other people. They rationalize that using these sites help get things off of their chest. They don’t think these sites could do any harm, especially because people don’t even have to use their name when posting. Older people seem to use these sites in order to find something online that they do not have in real life, such as a person they can trust with their deepest secrets. Younger people tend to see these sites in many different ways including just reading them for fun or actually using them to confess secret things. Confession sites allow a poster to be anonymous just so they can get things off their chest without anybody finding out it came from them

Venting is also another aspect of online confession sites. Many people will go on these sites to talk about their personal life. They are able to say whatever they want without feeling like it can come back to them in real life. It is a way to get things off of their chest since there are many things they want to say they might not even be able to tell their closest friends. People are also able to read confessions and realize they may not be alone and they are going through similar things. It is almost like a justification for things they have done.

Even though the online confession sounds like a good deal, there are repercussions a person may not foresee. A person is able to post without using their name, but someone else is also able to comment on a confession or post. Since they can comment without using a name, they do not have to be nice or even helpful. They could be demeaning and leave the original poster upset and feeling worse than before they posted the confession. These are harsh comments that a person would probably not be able to say to the person if they were meeting face to face. Sometimes it can be hard for the poster to understand people are just being cruel.

Online confessionals can be seen as easy therapy sessions. People are able to take a situation and post about it online, getting it off of their chest, and feeling better about the situation. Even though some people can post and be negative and not get the attention the poster was hoping for, it can still ultimately help relief stress that can build up in a person that keeps everything in.

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