Paralign and Koko are social media apps that enable users to anonymously post their worries, and crowdsource advice from a community of users.
For better or worse, the anonymity of the internet empowers people to say things they may lack the confidence to say in person. We have already seen this power harnessed by the Replace The Face project, which showed viewers a video about depression and matched pairs of strangers to encourage discussions about the intimidating topic. Now, two new social networks — Koko and Paralign — are hoping to do the same, using the inconspicuousness of the online world to encourage self expression and improve mental health.
Paralign is an anonymous journaling platform that enables users to post about their thoughts, then matches their text with other like-minded users. Once thoughts are ‘aligned’, users can be there for each other from afar — providing a much needed outlet for difficult issues and feelings. Likewise, Koko is an app that enables users to connect with each other anonymously and gain support and insight from the crowd in times of trouble. Koko facilities a kind of crowdsourced cognitive therapy, developed at the MIT media lab, essentially creating a platform for peer-support for those suffering from stress and anxiety. Users simply post their problems and await helpful replies. They can then upvote the tips they are given, discouraging misuse and making the community somewhat self-monitoring.
Are there other problems that could benefit from crowdsourced online advice?