Yesterday, I broke down and created a formspring account. My good friend Eric Wilkens is conducting a “social media experiment” and possibly writing about it for Too Shy to Stop; his enthusiasm/curiosity pushed me over the edge.
According to the formspring website, users can “send and receive anonymous questions, and learn more about people you find interesting by following their answers.” As I understand it, formspring is most popular with people who use tumblr. A few months ago, I noticed that some of my favorite tumblr bloggers were taking anonymous questions from readers.
Because I am obsessed with all things social media, I was intrigued by formspring. However, I was sure that the tool encouraged navel-gazing; I didn’t think I knew enough people who would even bother asking me questions, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to answer unsolicited questions online.
I was also turned off by formspring’s reputation. The writers at Get Off My Internets, a website I frequently visit, do not believe that individuals should create formspring accounts. In this post, “partypants” wrote:
“I think it shows a level of narcissism that even twitter can’t match. I really hate how everyone suddenly has questions about themselves popping up on their tumblrs from I suppose random readers of their…tumblrs. Ya know, because having a blog where you write about yourself day in and day out just isn’t enough; now we need to get strangers to help us perfect the skill of exposing ourselves online.”
Though Get Off My Internets does have a formspring account, the writers claim it is helpful for answering reader questions that don’t merit their own blog posts.
Armed with this information, I created my account at approximately 3 PM on February 25th. I had few expectations, and I actually felt ashamed for deciding to do something I initially thought was stupid.
I publicized my new formspring account on Twitter and Facebook, and I told some of my friends about it via Gchat. By 9 PM, I received 12 questions.
People that visit my formspring account can’t see the questions that have been asked of me until I answer them. I can delete a question or mark it as spam too.
Users can ask questions anonymously, or they can ask questions using their own formspring accounts. If you use your formspring account to ask a question, you will receive an e-mail notification when your question is answered.
The best part of my formspring experiment is that it made me laugh. Very few people took the task seriously, and I could actually tell which of my friends wrote some of the questions (they were based on inside jokes, or they had a very distinctive tone). A few questions, like “what is the most impressive aspect of himself a man can show you?” and “I’m having some trouble cooking my turkey…What should I do?” were untraceable.
I liked questions that forced me to think seriously about my response, and I was actually surprised that some people even bothered to submit questions like these. My favorite question, in terms of depth, was “who do you feel are some of the most quotable people you know for your blog entries?“.
Anyway, formspring is a fun tool. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone take it too seriously, but I do recommend it as a diversion to share with your friends.
Nothing that makes you laugh can be bad, right?
Also, I’m usually the one asking a lot of questions so it’s nice to be asked questions for a change. You can see all the questions/answers here, and you can even ask me a new question.