Hey everyone – today I’m issuing a semi-retraction on a previous post – TalkLife.
This post was made when I wasn’t in the right ‘state of mind’ – I was upset with the app and I made a post venting about it, which is something I try not to do here. So today, I’m trying to make a more professional post about it.
TalkLife’s ‘mission statement’ is “We started TalkLife in 2013 with the aim of making sure that no one need battle with their mental health alone.” (Source: About TalkLife)
However, I’ve used TalkLife and-and-off since 2017, and I honestly think that they’ve failed miserably at this. The app is free and anyone can download it, but there aren’t often many moderators active. This essentially means that even if someone does something horrifying and gets banned, they can just create a new free email address and rejoin the app with a new account – I’ve seen this happen several times.
Secondly, the TalkLife team themselves seem to be largely inactive, on their blog, their social medias (that I discovered) and in their own app. This is never good for an app that requires active management like this – however it could conceivably just be because of COVID-19. Almost all my research here has been done during that pandemic.
The results of this in the app are very visible, there’s very few (if any) moderators online at a time, lot’s of offensive and/or indecent content is posted regularly, the messaging system is so unreliable that it basically doesn’t work. However, the app’s biggest problem seems to be a fundamental one – lot’s of people post asking for support, but comparatively few actually read through others’ posts and provide that support.
In general, I don’t recommend TalkLife. It’s aimed for people with mental health issues, but I feel that the bad posts, the lack of support from other users and other factors mean that it can actually be damaging to the people it intends to support.
But don’t just take my words for it, here’s what some users had to say:
The new update has destroyed my message box – I have lost a lot of people I considered mates and the fact that nobody on the admin team bothered to help me makes it even worse.
I disagree with how the moderation is done. I keep seeing harmless jokes or thoughts being removed and there’s no way to appeal, although that could be because of a lack of people.
Also, post boosting seems biased to me. I keep seeing the same users boosting spam and when I try boosting posts they’re not allowed.
Some anonymous posts are abusive or racist. I usually block people who make these posts but I can’t block anonymous users. Either a ‘hide all anonymous posts’ option or the ability to block the user behind anonymous posts would be nice.
The ability to send images in DM’s shouldn’t be a thing and on that note, this app is for mental health but it’s plagued with creeps…
Also worthy of note, when I made this post to get this feedback, an admin tried to discredit me and advised users to be ‘cautious’ with me… I’m not entirely sure of his intention and I have no evidence either way so, draw your own conclusions there.
However, the feedback I got wasn’t all bad:
This app really helps me for some reason. I don’t have a lot of people to talk to about my stuff so… Yeah. Seeing people with similar problems also helps me feel less lonely.
I think the app has a mix of many types of people. There are many who will help, many who will have fun/joke around and many more who still need more support it seems. It’s not perfect, but it’s not terrible either.
This post was actually due to go up over 6 weeks ago, but I’ve been waiting for my editor’s input on the information in the post and I never got it. So I apologise for the delay. I’ve just posted this without my editor’s verification.
If you already use TalkLife, I’d like to know what you think. Leave your experience in the comments below 🙂 Thanks for reading!