Talking to Strangers for Free?


Tumblr fun fact: The site has a blog-by-blog policy of reviewing and removing content that promotes self-harm or eating disorders and searching for emotionally laden terms such as “suicide”, “thinspiration”, “cutting”, “bulimia”, and so on will yield Tumblr’s “check in” message before presenting the search results.  The message box asks the user “Everything Okay?” and provides information and resources for getting help with eating disorders, abuse, and immediate crisis resources as well as a site called Seven Cups of Tea, which I hadn’t heard of before. It turns out to be a free, volunteer based,  peer-to-peer talking site geared at being a space for individuals to talk about things that are bothering them.  It’s not a therapy site,  but a place for people to actually have a conversation with someone when they feel like they need to talk. It’s an interesting format…helping to create some human connection when it’s really needed. It’s presented as a source of support with volunteers offering “active listening” and information about common emotional health issues.  It seems like there could be some serious pitfalls, such potentially ill equipped volunteers managing people in active crisis or individuals perhaps misusing the system in inappropriate ways, but there is something fascinating about this opportunity to “Talk to Strangers for Free“.  It is striking to find something so altruistic and unmonetized out there on the otherwise “in-app-purchase” focused or targeted marketing internet, even if feels a bit like a person-to-person version of PostSecret.




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