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No clear answers on CrowdPilot

| Tuesday, February 18, 2014

WEB_Banner_CrowdPilotEmily Hoffmann
Sites such as “Ask.fm” or “Spring.me” offer the prospect of gathering a general consensus of people in the hopes of becoming all the wiser about a certain dilemma.

What really sold these ideas to everyone, however, was the added allure of doing so anonymously.

The idea of not attaching one’s name to their comments empowered users by allowing users to type away with reckless abandon, with little to no consequence as a result of what they say. More importantly, the anonymity allowed users to save face when faced with the prospect of asking a very embarrassing question or — even worse — one that would reveal their inner, dark and personal weaknesses. In time, however, people seemed to really move on from dealing with countless anonymous users, as they either felt tired of or simply cheated by the faceless, seemingly invincible users.

As with all trends, though, these things come and go, and eventually come again. So it is with the newly popular app, “Crowdpilot,” which advertises itself as a service that “lets you crowd source your conversations by bringing a group of your friends or strangers along to listen in and assist you in any situation.” An intriguing proposition, I decided to see — against my better judgment — how useful this application would be.

Seeing it make headlines as a way to crowd source Valentine’s Day ideas, I decided “Why not?” and asked a fictional scenario (in which, if one must know, I asked about an entire date centered around watching “House of Cards” and adopting Southern accents) to Crowdpilot users. The only thing I managed to learn that there was no clear answer, as the few people who did answer were varied in their responses, ranging from humor to outright disappointment.

I tried again a couple of nights later to see how useful Crowdpilot could be. As the application opens, you may “Start a session,” after which you may then ask complete strangers advice on situations for dating, arguments, family gatherings or anything else, really. However, my wait for a response led me to promptly exit the app. Not for lack of a response, but for lack of confidence in responses from strangers.

In a largely social media-centered generation, it increasingly seems as if people are overly concerned with strangers’ opinions and input. Whether it is responses to forum posts, Twitter followers, Instagram comments or even the aforementioned Ask.fm and Spring.me experiences, people seem extremely sensitive to opinions of the people that have no prior relationships with each other.

Crowdpilot is a very solid idea that offers assistance to those who seek advice from other Crowdpilot users. But what does that say when people feel the need to confide in strangers (strangers who, at least in my case, offered such conflicting advice that it left me just as clueless as I started) and not in the loved ones who know and understand them the most? It is easier to hide behind the mask of anonymity, but in order to really see eye-to-eye on a situation one should probably remove that mask.

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About Miko Malabute

Senior student at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in Biochemistry. From Tujunga, CA.

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