I’m sure everyone knows the phrase, “Secrets, secrets are no fun unless you share with everyone.” We are told this phrase when we are young and to keep quiet about certain matters because who really knows every little detail about someone? We definitely keep mum about specific details in our life… it’s only normal, right? But it’s also normal to share some of our secrets. To our friends and family, though? Hmm… why not share our deepest and darkest secrets with strangers? Yes, good idea!!! Wait, is it? What about when our parents taught us to never talk to strangers? WAKE UP CALL… stranger danger is everywhere, yet we share WAYYY too much about our life whether we like it or not… we’re the generation who is obsessed with social media who talk and share too much. Do we stop and think before we post our secrets? Probably not, but since we have no one we can trust in our inner circle, why not share with others? Instead of being protective of our online personas, anonymous networking sites do the trick for the people who like to share! The anonymous site/app I’m going to dissect for this post is Whisper.
Before doing my research in full, I only knew one anonymity site– such as PostSecret.com. Of course, in my search, I found more sites like www.secret.ly, Social Number, Simply Confess, Raw Confessions, True Confessions… the list goes on. It’s clear there’s a theme here… these sites are solely on your confessions. Not interacting with others like how the usual networking sites are but just straight up confessions where people can like what you say or comment.
For you visual learners out there, here’s what I’m talking about:
What I’m hear to discuss with my fellow readers is if these sites are healthy or not. To me, my answer is yes and no. Yes, because it’s healthy to have a creative outlet and let go of your worries. But, in that case, people can buy diaries or journals. Well, everything is on the Internet these days, so why not?! What’s the harm? … Plenty!! Which brings me to my no explanation. No, because when you put your dirty laundry on the Web, it’s there for life. You’re allowing people to read your soul and negativity is bound to happen. We keep learning in our class, Fundamentals of Social Media, to think before typing/think before speaking/think before tweeting/think before instagramming/THINK! THINK! THINK! Not only is this a HUGE problem for my generation but also for the younger generations and the older generations. Everyone’s in trouble here. So, what are some ways to maintain the good to these sites?
According to digitaltrends.com and their guide to help us learn how to be anonymous through communication activity, we can learn how to:
- Hide our IP address
- Create an alias and disposable email account
- Lay off of downloading too much
DigitalTrends is an excellent resource for those people who enjoy “How To’s” and I know I’m talking to a big demographic here! I can’t help but repeat myself, protect yourself by thinking before doing the action.
Of course, I found an article to back me up on my “Are anonymous networking sites healthy?” To reiterate from Wired.com‘s article, “Why Anonymity Apps Are So Healthy – And So Rotten,” Issie Lapowsky writes that there was a debate at the annual TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City over what Whisper is truly for. By the end of the conference, the answer was left unclear.
For those who aren’t familiar with the background of Whisper, let me clue you in. Whisper is one of many anonymity apps (as I stated earlier in my post). It allows anyone to write something without their name on it, set it against a pretty background and share it with the world. Many of these sites/apps advertise their product as a safe place for people to unload and feel connected online. However, while many use these platforms as a dialogue, we need to make these talkative people aware of the consequences.
Just the other day, my sister asked me if Tumblr is considered anonymous. I told her, “Those who have Tumblr accounts have the ability to message one of their followers or someone they don’t follow as anonymous.” This rages us Tumblr folk because normally an anonymous message tends to be negative. There are times when it can be positive, as well. These negative comments bring these bloggers down and making them believe their comments were true. I think when anon, there aren’t many consequences because we can’t track them down. The ultimate lesson for people who receive anon messages is to simply delete the incoming message. In an article on USAToday, it states, “comments can be bad for science.” Matt McLernon, a YouTube communications manager, writes, “The essence of commenting and sharing runs much deeper than what’s below a story. That conversation, that two-way element is going to happen one way or another.” Well said, Matt!
In any which way, anonymous networking sites and applications are healthy and unhealthy. Some see the ability to comment as a valuable tool while others rely on safety. In an attempt of just that, The Huffington Post recently banned anonymous commenting.
The trouble with these sites is that the user doesn’t know how to use it and ultimately abuses it then has to face the consequences. Just like on Snapchat how the snaps don’t go away like we think they do, these networks may be anonymous but they’re not secret. Uh oh! People can reuse and share your secrets however they can. Mashable has a great article discussing the privacy policies of Secret and Whisper- check it out!
As we learn at a young age and throughout our years, don’t trust just anyone. I think the new phrase that needs to breakthrough is this: If you don’t trust someone or something, then don’t share. Simple as that. Put your thinking cap on before divulging!