I’ve really only looked at Whisper.sh in terms of “Can I use this for work?” and as I can’t, I quickly disregarded it. But now that it’s in the news (again) as the next big thing, allegedly giving Facebook a big sharp pang, I looked again.
At first glance, the site seems full of creatively spelled thoughts typed on mostly-appropriate pictures, with more than the occasional phrase that isn’t as pithy as it pretends:
The kicker is that it’s all anonymous. This is nothing new in social media; it’s been happening on Livejournal for years, and Twitter is full of accounts with fake names that also post deep thoughts (same with Tumblr).
What I’m wondering about is calling this a social networking site. If the point is to stay anonymous, is that really social networking? How strong is the connection you feel with persons who will always stay hidden?
Admittedly, that may be more the fault of the news article. In a blog post, the creators of Whisper call it just a “next iteration of the social web,” which could mean anything.
In that same post, they say: “While we knew what we created would always be a unique place to express yourself authentically, Whisper quickly exploded to become much more than that. It is now a fast-growing, constantly evolving community of millions of people bound by sharing stories, expressing unvarnished moments, revealing honest emotions and connecting with the world around them.”
My question: How authentic are you if you stay anonymous?
I get that people can find ways to connect as real people beyond Whisper’s site. I also understand that sometimes we’re too scared to speak out what we really want and need to say, so providing a platform like this for people who will never touch Livejournal or don’t trust Tumblr makes good business sense. Being empathized with is a coveted thing.
I just wonder if staying anonymous will hurt more than it helps in the end. Does it change the message’s credibility if you don’t know who says it? Is getting the message out there the most important part?
And do we really feel better if we get 200 hearts from people we don’t know versus five hearts from people we do?
Let me know what you think.