Social Media began as a way for users to connect with one another. People used sites like MySpace and Facebook to view pictures of friends, communicate with their friends, see status updates, and follow events in each other’s lives. However, users of social media outlets, especially the younger generation, are searching for ways to express their emotions and actions without the information being available to the world.
The popularization of Snapchat was one of the biggest steps towards looking for anonymity online, while still being able to connect with others. Snapchat allowed users to send pictures that would erase within seconds. People could send them to as many or as few people as they like. A user could send a Snapchat to one friend for a second, or they could post it to their “story” for people to view at their leisure. However, this application did not allow for complete anonymity because you had to connect with a certain network and pictures would give away one’s identity.
To fulfill the desire for users to want to connect with as many people as possible without being identified created the platform for applications like Whisper and Secret. Both of these social media outlets allow users to post secrets anonymously. While Whisper is completely anonymous and allows you to connect with any other user, Secret works with your contacts from other social media sites. Even though Secret connects you with friends or friends of friends, it is nearly impossible to determine who posted a shared secret.
The use of these applications truly shows a shift in the desires for social media. People do not always want all of their friends to know their secrets, however, there is still a great desire to share information with others. Whisper and Secret may have provide a place for people to talk about their problems that they feel they cannot discuss with others. This could offer a therapeutic atmosphere for secret sharers. However, there could still be a very negative side of anonymous social media sites. Users may use this as a primary way to deal with their issues, and they may never actually work through their problems. People with eating disorders or depression should not only rely on applications like Whisper and Secret to talk about their need for help.
Both Whisper and Secret fill the want of younger users to be able to feel surrounded by people but with the feeling of being completely undetected at the same time. Giving people a place to vent online namelessly could have both positive and negative impacts. Even though both applications are meant to be anonymous, if subpoenaed, the applications can determine who posted a secret and give the information to the government.