Is Whisper(ing) a Good Idea?

22 Feb

Over the past two years, we’ve made about 35 posts related to privacy issues. This remains an important issue and one of great concern to a large number of us. And many companies have listened to our concerns, such as Google Chrome offering an incognito setting.

Now, there is another new app, Whisper, that has gotten a lot of attention. Whisper is available for free for both iPhones and Android devices. Just click the company name. [Note: This post is not intended as an endorsement of  Whisper, only to further our discussion about privacy.]

What is Whisper? Here is a synopsis from Marian Berelowitz, writing for JWT Intelligence:

“This year the suddenly-big new thing is anonymous sharing, and Whisper is the app populating headlines, from the Wall Street Journal  to New York magazine. Whisper lets users ‘be yourself and stay anonymous,’ as it promises; people post thoughts and secrets and connect with others, all anonymously. Like Snapchat, the user base skews very young, and the numbers are dizzying: about 3.5 billion page views a month and more than 20 posts per second at peak hours, according to its CEO. Another app, Secret, enables anonymous sharing but within one’s network of friends.”

“While many are worried about the potential for slander, bullying, and other abuse, Secret’s creators tell Time that their aim is to build ‘a platform that will bring more authenticity, self-awareness, and empathy to the world.’ Similarly, Whisper CEO Michael Heyward talks about his app enabling our masks to come off, and editor-in-chief Neetzan Zimmerman describes it as “the anti-Facebook.”

Click the image from Whisper to read more.
 

 

15 Responses to “Is Whisper(ing) a Good Idea?”

  1. Nina Rossiello February 22, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    I know I have never heard of Whisper, but honestly with all the social media already on my phone, I don’t think it is necessary to have such an app. Most people are already up to date on the news and activity of his or her friends and don’t need to waste time “whispering”. An app to do things anonymously is extremely dangerous… Don’t we all remember the popular website formspring a few years back? That website lead to a few suicides itself (one even in my own town…scary), and with all of the social media there is already plenty of room for people to interact. Apps and websites with this anonymous feature should not even be popular, they only cause problems and are childish.

  2. theroyalbengalitiger February 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    I downloaded the Whisper app yesterday on my iPhone after reading this post.

    I think that it is a very interesting app that would appeal to young teens (especially the ones who stereotypically follow the emo subculture). It is very similar to Tumblr except that the interface is a lot more user friendly.

    While some of the messages can be inspirational or touching, I think that overall the app represents a huge threat to the privacy of many people. I think that there is a lot of inappropriate material that can be posted. The posts are not moderated which causes a huge privacy issue from the get-go.

    I agree with Nina – there are going to be a lot of suicides because of this app. Honestly, this just seems like another great (and unfortunately mostly legal) way of getting back at an ex or bullying etc. No thanks – I would rather have my Facebook lack-of-privacy.

  3. ldramen February 23, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    I’d heard of the whisper app before reading this post, but I didn’t exactly know how it works. I see how it provides a “safe” place for individuals to voice their deepest, darkest secrets. However, I’m curious to know how the company sensors certain posts. For example, are people allowed to use other people’s full names in their posts? Like the above comments mentioned, this app could have very negative, serious consequences. Honestly, if a confession needs to be made, write it in a journal and hide it well. I understand how some individuals would feel better seeing their secrets and confessions coming from other people and knowing they’re not alone. However, I think this is a dangerous way to receive acceptance, empathy, etc.

  4. Gabby Santoferrara February 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    I like the idea of Whisper. I’ve never heard of this app before, but I think it is a good way to allow people to say how they truly feel. Sometimes upper management can’t address things the way they’d really like to, and can’t say exactly what they say. I think this app allows people to be more human. The only issue with this app is the potential for all the slander that could happen. Hopefully, people use this app as intended.

  5. Rachel Trotta February 23, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    I do not have the app but I have heard of it before. The concept seems very similar to Postsecret, a very popular, encouraging, and positive themed way for people to get their secrets out. The difference is that there is one guy choosing which secrets are shared on the site. Whisper would probably be a lot more popular with critics if there was some sort of moderation. Without this moderation, as the other commenters have pointed out, there is a huge potential for bullying and negativity. Popular or not, I will not be downloading it as I do not feel the need to anonymously tell a bunch of random strangers my secrets! There is enough lack of privacy on the internet already…

  6. Julianne Brackman February 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    This app sounds very interesting. Although I do agree that it could definitely lead to bullying and slander, it could benefit people if it is used correctly. Honestly I’ll probably download this app after reading this post. People are so afraid to be themselves now because they are so scared of being judged for it. When people can remain anonymous, they are more likely to really admit who they are and be comfortable venting to people over the internet about it. It’s sad though, that apps like this are so popular because the world is such a crude and judgmental place.

  7. Danie Zolezzi February 23, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    I find this post particularly interesting because I have downloaded and used the Whisper app. When I first started using it I thought it was pretty strange and very repetitive. However, then I started to realize that there were definitely some posts I could relate to. I agree that it can result in slander and bullying but it also leads to people feeling a sense of comfort in knowing they are not alone in the problems they may be facing. I don’t really use it anymore, it was fairly short-lived, but I don’t see it causing serious problems for the public.

  8. sydneyruggieri February 23, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    The first thing that came to mind when I learned of “Whisper” was the potential for online bullying, harassment, and just inappropriateness in general that otherwise would not be present if there were a face connected to the words. However, I do not see it as becoming a popular mainstream social media like facebook, Instagram, or twitter; that is it could be safe and clean enough only consisting of those who truly use the app for what it appears to be for. I think that people should definitely be able to express themselves without the fear of judgment and that the app is a cool idea, but that sort of concept will also cater to those who would rather stir up trouble with their anonymity.

  9. dankneezee February 23, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    I found this post particularly interesting because in the past I downloaded and used the Whisper app. At first the posts seemed bizarre (slightly depressing) and repetitive and I was slightly turned off by it. However, soon I started to find many things I related to and experienced myself. I realized then why this app is so popular among young teenagers full of angst. This target market is the perfect group willing to confess and share their inner most secrets and insecurities. I don’t think it is a place that harbors bullying. I don’t really use this app so I don’t know how it has evolved but I’m sure it has become even more directed towards young smart phone users.

  10. Alex Green February 27, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    While Whisper can provide a platform that allows teens to express themselves and show who they really are, the first thing I thought of about this app is that it has a huge potential to lead to bullying and harassment. I feel that when your not attached directly to what is being said it makes it easier for people to say mean things. Especially for teenagers who are in that stage. Also, I don’t believe that this app will become nearly as popular as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I’ve never heard of it before, but I don’t think it will grow into a mainstream app.

  11. Abhishek Jha March 1, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    I think this is quite a liberating app. Over the years, people have have come across many privacy issues and the fact that most things are stored online and searchable by anyone or potential employers, has lead to quite a stifling of expression. Initially social media were started to connect with people and express yourself and create your own identity. But with all the monitoring and hacking, people are again losing the freedom of expression to quite an extent.This app should be most helpful to young teens and adults who love to have fun and share their crazy moments with friends, without these ‘moments’ hurting them in the future, provided, of course, that this app really doesn’t store anything/allows real anonymity. Will need to try it out to see how it really works though.

  12. HuDie-MKT249 March 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    I like the name of “Anti-Facebook” that Neetzan Zimmerman gave to Whisper. It uncovers the insight of Whisper running its business. Everyone on Whisper is masked which means people can comment whatever come out their minds without think about any ethic aspects. It is so dangerous have access to unlimited freedom.

  13. Sarah Carpenter March 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    Though the need to stay private is an ever-growing want in our online world, internet anonymity is something that scares me a lot. I have had encounters with other apps that offer the same type of anonymous messaging, and with teens it often just results in mean spirited comments. This app doesn’t seem to be protecting anything, just offering an outlet to share “secrets.” In my opinion, this app is pointless and could be replaced with a diary. Something using the same type of software but that blocks hackers or protects personal information would be much more useful.

  14. Lauren Sarfati March 5, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    After reading this article, I downloaded whisper to see what it was all about. After scrolling through some posts, I feel like this app is unnecessary. Although It lets individuals speak freely about any topic, It is giving people too much freedom. Most of the posts on it are extremely negative and sad. This app is similar to Instagram, except its anonymous which could be more dangerous. People are likely to comment more negative posts because they aren’t directing it to anyone. Although this app is popular now, it definitely won’t be as popular as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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  1. Is Whisper(ing) a Good Idea? | Social Media and... - February 22, 2014

    […] Over the past two years, we've made about 35 posts related to privacy issues. This remains an important issue and one of great concern to a large number of us. And many companies have listened to o…  […]

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