“Secrets, secrets are no fun . . .”

A few weeks ago a new app called Secret was released that allows users to share secrets with each other while remaining completely anonymous. The app accesses your mobile phone contacts to connect you (anonymously) to people who are friends of your friends, or sometimes even friends of your friend’s friends. So what’s the premise? You get to read all these secrets by someone that you probably know but without being able to tell who it really is. It’s like a confession page, very much like ‘LUC Secrets’ but without there being a group of people who are ‘in’ on the secret.

In order for the app to work effectively, enough people have to be connected to you (or to your contacts) who are also using the app – otherwise you won’t be seeing many secrets. The app works in a similar way to Facebook, by letting users comment and ‘heart different secrets. This time however, nobody knows who anyone else is – there are no usernames, and every individual is assigned a random avatar, which means that secrets get shared/liked/commented on because of the content of the secret instead of the identity of the sharer.

As one reviewer, Mike Isaac, says of the app, it is “centered around the vertical feed (like today’s most popular social apps), where posts are composed primarily of text with a photo or pre-loaded texture background. Everything is intentionally kept simple – the content of the secret is what’s pushed to the forefront” (2014). This new app goes against everything social media has become – it gets rid of the concept of us creating the best identifiable versions of ourselves online and instead focuses on the content of the message to be pushed through. Here’s what the creators have to say about this new app, “As social networking has become universal, we’ve become increasingly sensitive to what we share online. Speaking on a stage in front of a mixed audience of family, friends, and acquaintances makes it hard for us to be our most authentic selves. As a result, we tend to share only our proudest moments in an attempt to portray our best selves. We filter too much, and with that, lose real human connection. We built Secret for people to be themselves and share anything they’re thinking and feeling with their friends without judgment” (Nosowitz, 2014).

Despite the creators’ intentions, users of the new app have mixed reviews. Just looking at Secret’s customer reviews, you can see that while about 46% of users gave the app a five star rating, 21% of users gave the app only one star:

Secret. Google Play.

Secret. Google Play.

So what’s your take on this new app? Is it a liberating new social media tool that we can use to further entertain ourselves and learn more about each other or just another new way to further alienate ourselves from each other, this time without identifying ourselves first?

References

(2013). Secret. Google Play. Retrieved from:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=secret.app

Herman, John. (2014). The Return of the Anonymous Internet: Social networks put identity at

the center of our online lives. Is it too late to turn back? Buzzfeed. Retrieved from: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jwherrman/can-the-internet-ever-be-anonymous-again

Isaac, Mike. (2014). With New Anonymous Social App Secret, the Merit Is in the Message.

Recode. Retrieved from: http://recode.net/2014/01/30/with-new-anonymous-social-app-secret-the-merit-is-in-the-message/

Nosowitz, Dan. (2014). Hot New App Already Filled With Garbage. The Awl. Retrieved from:

http://www.theawl.com/2014/02/secret-the-latest-terrible-thing

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7 thoughts on ““Secrets, secrets are no fun . . .”

  1. In all honesty, I am not a fan of these social interaction apps and sites that favor complete anonymity. I believe that they promote harassment more than any other positive social interaction. I actually think this app has the power to further alienate us from our peers, because it creates a disconnect between the message’s content and its communicator.

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  2. I personally do not think this app is a good idea. A lot of social bullying happens in the internet because people are able to interact with one another in an anonymous way. It kind of reminded me of the “ask” website in which one can post anonymous questions to people and see their reactions. It would be interesting to see if those who use this app are willing to say the same thing they said online to the person face to face.

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  3. I don’t understand the need to share your secrets to the world. I guess it’s good to get something off your chest, but still, it’s public. The thing people don’t realize is that this is all stored on a server SOMEWHERE. Your secrets really aren’t secrets and if someone digs deep enough, or knows the wrong people, anything online can be had. I’m not a fan of these types of apps personally.

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  4. Your secrets not a secret anymore…it’s just an anonymous comment which could get real creepy…..I like the article though, interesting.

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  5. It’s kind of counter-intuitive if you think about it. You join a secret website to post all of your deep dark secrets that you want to remain hidden, knowing full well that you could be giving this information to anyone out there. Surely people can take screenshots of these things. Some secrets are easier to pin on a specific person than others. To me it just seems like an elaborate cry for attention. If someone really wants to look into sharing moving, annonymous secrets, check out http://postsecret.com/.

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  6. I agree with the last comment by mschmelig. I would add that even if people can post things anonymously, they lose the satisfaction of getting personal human validation. I think this is telling to how much people just want to be listened to and cared for. An app around love and encouragement. Something like that might actually bring us closer together…

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  7. The app sounds like a complete troll and by that I mean pointless and just trying to satisfy some small portion of human dignity. If you have a secret, you’ve obviously kept it to yourself for a reason. I guess being able to share anonymously welcomes those that want to liberate themselves, but in all honesty if I have no idea who you are- what does your secret do for me? Make me laugh? Make me think? I have no interest in reading words that have come from the darkest corners of strangers’ minds.

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