Faceless Voices


Photo by Rebecca Qin


Six months ago, junior Catherine “Cate” Young started her blog, theblondeuneed.wordpress.com, updating if every few weeks with new life lessons she has learned through different experiences.

She said, “Usually, someone will do something that doesn’t make me very happy and I never confront them about it, and I take all of that anger and not understanding and I reformulate it in my head and then write about it.”

Young said she uses her writing to spread positivity, hoping her audience will leave feeling inspired and motivated to improve themselves and find their self-worth.

Counselor Cathleen Johnson said she believes blogs can be a good outlet for students to express themselves.

“There are things that, in a conversation, you may not feel comfortable expressing. But from the comfort of your own home, you’ve got this ability to be yourself and that may be the only place you feel comfortable being yourself,” Johnson said.

Whilst blogs can be an outlet that some students choose to use, others use anonymous platforms to express themselves online, such as Whisper, an app that has surged in popularity, with over 20 million active users every month. Through Whisper, people are able to talk to others and express their ideas anonymously online. Users have the option to share their approximate location, age range and gender, and are able to talk on private messages with other users.


online-expression-graphic


According to Senior Amber Budnick, a frequent user of Whisper, the app is a way for her to talk to people without feeling as if she is being judged.

She said, “They just get to hear your opinions and not judge you based on your family and how you grew up.”

Budnick said the anonymity on Whisper allows her to voice her thoughts more freely than if her identity was known.

Johnson, on the other hand, said she does not think anonymous apps are a good idea for students to use.

She said, “There’s too much temptation to do things that you would not do if you’re name was tied to it. I see too many issues come with the anonymous aspect of posting things. I think it presents a huge problem, especially for cyber-bullying.”

However, Budnick said she has not seen any of these cyber-bullying issues in her personal use of Whisper or other social media platforms.

Unlike Budnick, much of Young’s audience is aware of who she is. Despite this, Young said she tries not to worry too much about other people judging her for what she posts, as writing on her blog is an overall positive for her.

Young said, “There’s peace that I feel after I put it all out there. If I write down all of my thoughts, I feel this overwhelming sense of inspiration to join another club or find something else that I like to do or spend more time with my friends or get better grades,” she said. “All of a sudden, I have a new outlook on life… I’ll be up at 2 a.m. and I’ll have all these revelations about life… It makes me realize I’m only going to be this age for so long and I don’t want to miss out on amazing opportunities just because I’m dwelling on the negative.”

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Raiha Zainab