Partnered Anonymous LJ Support (PALS)
Short, concise description of the idea
Share your deepest secrets and concerns with a small, close group of perfectly anonymous people for direct feedback and wisdom from a range of mutually supportive strangers.
Full description of the idea
PALS (or whatever you would like to call it) is a tool that gives the user a completely private blog and forum space with a pseudonym of their choice, that only connects them with a small group of 7-15 other people, selected completely at random from the user group. This would allow you to post parts of your other blogs, or a separate, private blog, to a small group of people drawn from all over the world and potentially at very different stages in life. Based on my experience as a first responder, a player on early internet forums (small groups of people from all walks of life, most of whom still hold each other close to this day) and as a member of an intentional community, I am convinced that this has the potential to be a very powerful support tool and source of community for people of all walks of life. I have had the privilege of seeing these kinds of communities form, and when people participate they inevitably change lives for the better and form lifetime bonds. It needn't be fancy or require a lot of effort, just a private community blog that only a set small group can access, a random matching algorithm and someone to take complaints if, say, certain members never used the service and another member could be introduced to a group.
Ideally, this might be partnered with something like PostSecret, where the loss of their anonymous support application was felt keenly by all involved, and where there are already a tremendous number of people motivated to seek this kind of help. I would be happy to discuss this further.
- - Many people I know (especially young professionals) would be able to engage with this kind of socialization and support in a way they cannot with normal blogging or their peers, meaning a potential groundswell of new bloggers.
- - Many people find themselves more willing to trust complete strangers (anonymously) than people who know them with very private problems.
- - Alienation is the leading cause of human misery, and if this idea helps even a few lonely, desperate people it will be worth the effort.
- - Removes the awkward social dance that comes with having a public journal that can be connected to you. People can talk about serious life events (e.g. car accidents, medical procedures, problems with family) that they would otherwise not risk sharing.
- - Connects you with people you may not normally seek out for comfort or support. A 55 year old woman may have really, really good advice for a 18 year old girl in another country who is moving out on her own for the first time, for example.
- - It is possible that small groups will be poorly matched in personality/life experience, though in my experience with intentional communities people from all kinds of backgrounds can find common ground and emerge better for it.
- - People are slightly more likely to be abusive when they have anonymity, though some research suggests that "real name" systems (for example) don't tend to limit this significantly.