The Scarlet Scroll

‘tbh’ app proves to be a diamond in the rough


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WHAT A GEM: Senior Vanessa Garcia uses the tbh app.

It’s time to be honest about “tbh,” an app that uses multiple-choice polls to compliment its users and spread its positivity out to reach kids everywhere.

I first discovered the tbh app through an invitation via text message from one of my friends. Although I ignored it at first, it soon caught my attention when I noticed that the people I followed on Snapchat were posting screenshots of their poll results. I was intrigued by the creative statements like “They might be the sole reason for global warming” or “Actually knows how to keep an avocado fresh after cutting it” that were used to describe my friends. Although these questions seemed meaningless and ridiculous, they were also cute and amusing. As curiosity overcame me, the only question that drove me to download the app was “What do people think of me?”

My first impression of the app was that it was like the quirky, colorful little sister to Sarahah.com, an anonymous messaging site that held no restrictions to what you could say to the person that would be receiving it. I would only see people on Snapchat promoting their Sarahah account and encouraging others to send them messages, so I’ve always been discouraged to make an account because it offers users too much freedom to say whatever they want, including negative comments. But what makes tbh different is that users are asked to answer good-natured multiple choice questions.

Screenshot of tbh app taken by Eisel Pazon

I did enjoy tbh for the first couple of weeks because it was my first time experiencing an anonymous messaging system. The time that I spent on the app lifted my self confidence and helped me get a better idea of what others thought of me. I would get daily compliments – called gem notifications – every day and I would get to repay the favor by sending random compliments back. It was refreshing to open my phone and see positivity when many other outlets of social media focus solely on negative aspects of the world.

It has been about two months since I’ve downloaded tbh onto my phone and it’s now a rarity to get a gem notification from it – maybe once every two weeks. Although nobody talks about the app anymore, it is apparent that people still use it because you are able to check on those who you follow that recently got gems. I lost interest in the app once I realized that tbh prompts were inclusive: they can be applied to anyone and everyone. It was just convenient that someone chose you out of the four people. There is also the option to shuffle the given four names at least five times or skip the whole prompt altogether. Basically – alhough this make come off conceited – gem notifications just don’t make me feel special anymore now that I realize that compliments are random and nonspecific.

Overall, I loved the influence tbh had on me and other people in the community despite the issues. Although the app did help build my self confidence, I also believe that we should not rely on an app to define ourselves. tbh is just one app that future developers can use as an example to create positive outlets. I hope we that we will see more positive outlets like these in the future and focus less on the bad events circulating society.

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The Student Newspaper at Mater Dei High School
‘tbh’ app proves to be a diamond in the rough