Unlike the happy circle jerk you witness daily when you log into Facebook (“***hugs***!” “Thinkin of u” “OMG u look so gud!”), a new social network aims to let your friends, under the cloak of internet anonymity, let you know exactly what the hell your problem (or problems) is (or are.)
Failin.gs (excellent domain hack there with the .gs), currently in beta, will eventually open to everyone so you can hit up your friends for unmitigated feedback regarding your demeanor, looks, manners, intellect and other general ego-shattering critiques. Instead of parading your insecurities out to HotorNot.com or 4chan, you can get your nearest and dearest to break it down for you in what looks to be kind of an internet slam book. And they know better, so that won’t lessen the sting.
It actually seems pretty simple, and not just another place to get bashed- it’s designed to help you work on your weaker points. You distribute a URL to your pals, and then:
Once you start receiving the anonymous feedback, you’ll be able to categorize it, and you and your friends will be able to agree or disagree, leave comments, and work together to improve your personal character. Once they create their account, don’t forget to return the favor.
When you sign up, you’ll be asked for a piece of information that only your friends know. This way, you can be sure that only people who know you can write on your profile.
Though I’ve critiqued social networking to be too self-laudatory, I think this site will take off. While we’re all addicted to the ego stroking that comes with public nicey-nice with friends, the internet provides a unique forum for self-flagellation as well. It used to be that you could only imagine what happened to the object of an unrequited love- now during a particularly painful breakup, you can un-console yourself with images of the one who got away at their lovely and romantic beach wedding, or a hated rival’s promotion, Mr. Commitment-o-phobe’s new baby and so on.
We all do it, and wish we hadn’t, but can’t stop. A great number of us have gone on internet fishing expeditions for info on friends, relations and lovers only to immediately reveal information we wish we could unsee. This will be schadenfraude to the nth degree, and I don’t think many will be able to resist the lure. I know I won’t.