In Japan, since many people are connected with work-related acquaintances on Facebook, many suffer from not being able to express themselves freely. Arrow is an anonymous mini blog that was released in May of 2011, aiming to become a solution to such problems.
Arrow has more than 70,000 unique users and over 11 million postings. If you think of this number as people who might be secretly venting about others, that’s a pretty big number. Users on Arrow post their inner thoughts and feelings within the 200 character limit, and then the “Arrow” is sent to a random user on the site. On Arrow, there are no strings attached. The only connection you have with someone is while you’re responding to an arrow or getting a response.
Users posts all sorts of things on Arrow, starting from what they’re having for dinner to something more serious like a crisis with their spouse. The good thing about arrow is that you will always get a response. If a user who received an arrow does not respond, the arrow is automatically sent to someone else who would respond. There is a feature called ‘TaraiMawashi’ (meaning to rotate) that allows users to skip arrows as well.
Kazuki Masuda is the COO of Green romp, the company behind Arrow. He elaborated on the network’s uniqueness:
Arrow is different in that users register themselves anonymously and they can never connect to each other. They are free from the stress and attachments of being connected with their boss or clients and can simply be who they are. And whatever they post, they will always get a response from someone. People will never feel fatigue over using our service.
In Japan, there’s something called “Honne to Tatemae” which roughly translates to the contrast between one’s true intentions/feelings and what is said on the surface. Japanese people often prioritize being polite over being blunt or harsh. Arrow is exclusively for Honnne with no strings attached. Green romp hopes that a place like Arrow and other existing social neworks can co-exist for people living in the digital age.
Not only is this service a very clever one but company itself seems very unique. Interestingly they present a questionnaire before Arrow’s user registration, and selects which users can join depending on the answers. Examples of such questions are “Are you a nice person?,” “Can you take a joke?,” or “Do you use drugs?”