Experience Project

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Experience Project is a free social networking platform that allows people to connect with each other by sharing life experiences and stories. It is a community where users can share their experiences with others by writing their personal stories, posting photos, videos, and blogs. The network encourages anonymity so that people do not feel afraid of being recognized or embarrassed while sharing their stories. The network’s slogan reads: “real life, real people, real stories”, which underlines an open and genuine storytelling experience. As of January 2011, the site held almost 7 million experiences[1]


Experience Project was started by Armen Berjikly in 2004. Originally, the site was intended to serve as a resource for multiple sclerosis patients (MS), with a goal of connecting those going through the same experience. As Berjikly interacted on the site, he realized its popularity was derived from the connections and bonds between individuals. This led the site to expand into the Experience Project in order to cater to a wider population. It was officially introduced to the general public in October 2006. The website is headed by Berjikly and an executive board including Neil Sheth and Julio Vasconcellos. As of 2011, there are about 9.5 million registered users and the website is continuing to expand. The Experience Project also provides support group resources for users, along with causes and petitions for people who feel that they should be proactive about their life experiences or the life experiences of others.


The aim of this network is to share positive and negative life experiences and find other people with similar stories. It gives users a chance to realize that they are not the only one going through a specific crisis. The feedback system allows one to see that there are many people experiencing similar pressures. Community members create groups around personally significant life experiences. Members can join groups based on location or interests, sharing and reading different stories. Users do not have to be permanent members to use this website. Anyone who visits the website can post a story, or take part in a discussion about someone's story. Some examples of stories include depression issues, problems of divorce, and sexual assaults. Like other social networks, Experience Project allows users to make friends by linking them with people of common experiences. Users can blog on the website, play games, make confessions, take surveys, and join and support their favorite causes. Users can also listen to their favorite songs by using a special search engine that matches users’ moods to songs. The entire purpose of the Experience Project is to gain a greater understanding of other users' experiences, while still maintaining anonymity.


Home screen outlook

The interface is reasonably simple and gives the users a lot of options to choose from. The majority of the home screen is occupied by a list or preview of some of the featured stories. Each story is followed by a brief, two line summary of what the post is about. Consequently, individuals have an idea of the topic and can immediately engaging with it without necessarily perusing a long list of stories.

Story of a single mother

Two generic indices called ‘categories’ and ‘sections’ are located in one corner of the home page, which can navigate you to a list of places depending on your mood. ‘Categories’ contains topics like arts and entertainment, culture, religion, current events, and food. Users can pick a category to see a host of stories related to that specific category and may comment on one if it interests them. ‘Sections’ allows you to explore other places such as question/answer sessions, confession stories, and also see a list of active users on the website. You can decide to interact with a user by sending them a virtual gift or a greeting card or by messaging them. Another unique section is the “daily question” section. Every day, a new question is published here and users are invited to share their opinions on a particular topic. There is also some space allocated for advertising.

Ethical Concerns

The case of anonymity

I need to talk about my life

Proponents of the website argue that anonymity is an important aspect of Experience Project. There are several advantages of such a setup, but there may also be some drawbacks. Upon registration, the system asks individuals if they want their profile to be social or discreet. This primarily means that individuals can choose to reveal their identity or remain anonymous. The site itself promotes anonymity because it is thought that users feel more comfortable talking about their lives when other people cannot recognize them. The key point of the debate is whether or not anonymity can be constructive.

Usually, social networks allow individuals to establish their own identity and promote oneself online, which means people have the opportunity to connect with others by their real identity. On the contrary, Experience Project allows individuals to connect on the basis of their experiences [2] . A platform like this represents a constructive environment in the sense that it seeks to identify individuals as a person with unique experiences. This means if you have a unique story, you are a unique member. On other social networks, where identity is not hidden, a negative experience may classify and individual into a judgmental category. People start remembering people for their tragedy or illness. But, on this network, such a judgmental phase can be avoided [2]

Sometimes, people may feel uncomfortable sharing their problems or difficult experiences with family and friends. Experience Project allows you to find help without allowing others to recognize you. On this network, people are free to express their thoughts and potentially disturbing experiences while still having the choice to preserve their identity. A recent user said:

"Once I write it, it’s gone.”

She describes that writing acts as a form of therapy and helps her to express her unspoken feelings [2]. It lifts a burden off her shoulders.

It seems that anonymity works perfectly in this environment, but there are a few downsides attached. In some cases, some anonymous users have used the website to make fun of some of the published stories. Some people have created fake profiles to join groups and provide negative responses to people. On a different note, some people argue that this network, and many other similar networks, are developed as money making schemes. People who join the community are narrated sad stories and are in turn pressurized to donate to charities. Such motives clearly defeat the concept of constructive storytelling and open communication.

External Links


  1. Experience Project on Wikipedia
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 David Spark (2009) Anonymous social networks open the gates for digital therapy

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