Shawnee’s Newest Fad: tbh

Charlotte Mandy, Editor

Riding the constant outpouring of social apps, the newest fad has taken Shawnee by force…but, perhaps unusually, by the force of kindness. tbh is one of many anonymous apps where students can emote without fear of repercussions. This typically results in toxic situations where someone becomes the brunt of anonymous cruelty or teasing, but with remarkable foresight, tbh has allowed no room for this.

Significantly, the evaluation is in the form of something universally familiar to students–multiple choice. A strictly positive trait or question appears, and your job as the ‘player’ is to pick from four to eight people. For example, it may say ‘the definition of gorgeous’ or ‘most likely to survive Jurassic Park’ or ‘my wingman/woman.’ The only people you can select from are your friends. A student may submit polls for review, connect with other people at their school that they may not communicate with on a daily basis, and shower their friends in ‘gems’ with a private honesty that vis a vis interactions do not usually allow for.

It may sound corny, but it has certainly struck a chord in Shawnee. The participation of students in the high school rocketed from approximately twenty people on Saturday, September 23rd to upwards of five hundred. 

Maybe it is the accessibility and nearly instant gratification of a stream of compliments, or–just maybe–tbh has dispelled the myth that teenagers are always attention-grabbing ego machines.

There is something appealing about knowing that, somewhere, someone you know has just seen that they were chosen out of other people as having a funny or attractive quality. After all, we may never know what we look or seem like to others, but tbh, in its anonymity, comes pretty close. It certainly boosts the self-esteem of those that may need it without as much pressure of a follower count or the most likes.

With perhaps my usual cynicism, I predict the app will be all the rage for about another week, and then it will subside to live on the phones of a select few. That is, the few that enjoy making others smile regardless, or the few that are fueled by the idea that they are not, perhaps, as overlooked as they thought. The compliment high will, however, die down soon enough, and attentions will return fully to other platforms where students can have their own spotlight.  

That said, many fly under the radar in high school. Whatever the superficiality or fleetingness of tbh, it would have achieved its purpose if but a few of these people realize that they do indeed matter to others, others who are in this instance as faceless and nameless as them, and that makes all the difference.