Can I let you in on a secret? The latest trend in social media is anonymity. I know, I know, that seems like a contradiction. The purpose of social media, after all, is to share your jokes, photos, opinions, location, favorite foods, and everything else under the sun, right? Over the last 10 years, privacy on the internet seems to have basically disappeared under a deluge of sites that let us curate every single aspect of our lives.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that over the last year or so, social networks that let you maintain your anonymity, to share without revealing your actual identity, have exploded in popularity.
One site that has been making waves recently is whisper.sh. Whisper.sh is a social media web site that allows users to upload content without revealing their identities. At first glance, the site closely resembles web sites like tumblr. The content posted on whisper.sh looks similar to meme content from other social sharing sites, but upon closer glance, you realize that the majority of what people share on whisper.sh features fewer pictures of cats and funny gifs, and more very serious personal revelations and opinions from the users.
With such a thick veil of anonymity, users share their deepest secrets with the world. The content can be very sad. Posts say things like “I hate my job. I feel like I’m wasting the best years of my life.” Some are more lighthearted like “One day I will find a beautiful woman who will want to make a pillow fort with me… Just 2 normal adults having unadulterated fun!” The majority of the posts are very personal.
Whisper.sh does allow you to contact users directly, and reveals a user’s location when they post, but other than that, whisperers are able to maintain their anonymity. With 4 million users as of October 2013, many of whom are high school or college students, it is clear that services like whisper.sh are in demand, possibly as a means to avoid cyberbullying, or simply as a way to share deep, potentially painful secrets in a way that is cathartic for the user.
What affect do you think the rise of anonymous social sites will have? Will more users make the move and spend less time on brands’ favorite networks? Share your thoughts with us.