On occasion, I see a new website that I find intriguing on Reddit and this one caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, it is a high school student who has started a site to allow people to help other people to deal with issues that are bothering them. Second, the creator is my oldest son, Benjamin. Putting aside the obvious pride and bias, I thought that the premise of the site is intriguing. MellowTalk
allows people to communicate in strict anonymity and the participants select either “talker” or “listener”
on the site. It offers people a sounding board for discussing problems or issues in an anonymous and safe environment. (Indeed, I know of a couple high ranking officials who could benefit for some anonymous and non-public venting).
Given the tensions facing both adults and teens, the site allows a type of self-help option that may be just enough for people to regain a sense of clarity or control:
MellowTalk is a chat platform built on the kindness of strangers. we take two people, give them silly anonymous names, and expect one to help the other work out their problems. at its core, MellowTalk is here to give people someone to talk to, whether you want to get advice, find second opinions, or just to vent. our goal is to help people by making interactions private and secure while supplying a quality platform for free. it is the hope of this website that we can help people in a non-invasive, yet deeply personal way.
The site is different from a couple of other sites in how it works. It creates an incentive based system to encourage people to fully adhere to their roles. On top of forced placement as listener and talker, the “thank” point system and leaderboard is designed to encourage helpful interactions. The reward system of badges and gems is meant to offer an alternative to sites that simply punish bad listeners. The site stresses that this is not clinical therapy. Rather, the site recognizes that people often just want to speak with other people in a friendly environment.
Usernames are all randomly generated, following the format primary adjective – secondary adjective – noun. There are over 3.45 million possible name combinations, ensuring all are unique. To guarantee anonymity, the site is heavily encrypted and no chats are saved absent a substantial report of wrongdoing. In addition, usernames are regenerated at the beginning of every chat unless the user is an account holder.
It will be interesting to watch this site, and similar sites, unfold. The Internet is often blamed for so many dysfunctional habits and influences. However, the anonymity on the Internet also allows people to reach out to others to express feelings that they might not be willing to tell someone face-to-face.
The site is MellowTalk
and the creator is Benjamin Turley, 18.