That’s my conclusion when I read about the latest hot apps – Whisper, and its terrible twin, Secret. Also, Flappy Bird, but that’s for another time.
I thought I’ll give Secret a whirl, just to see what the deal was, not so much because I have secrets that I don’t really want to keep secret (My name is Dick Whitman. No! I’m just, you know, a mysterious blogger), but more to see what the deal was. I didn’t get very far – the app wanted my email address and access to my contacts, and then my phone number, all without even buying you a drink. I deleted the app.
But apparently once you’re ready to part with your most intimate personal information, you’re all set to read some secrets – short, text-based secrets appearing on a white or color background, or sometimes on a photo, which you have to pick for yourself from your own photo stream. You can like or comment on each secret – they don’t know who you are, and you don’t know who they are. Except! – and here’s the tantalizing bit – these secrets are likely secrets of people you know, or people they know, or people those people know. The person who is losing sleep over a secret affair could be your boss! your girlfriend’s best friend! that cute cashier at the 7-11 you always go to!
Great! So? I’m not sure how this thing imagines it will make money eventually, but according to its creators, what they’re really trying to do is to help people “be themselves and share anything they’re thinking and feeling with their friends without judgment.”
I don’t know how that helps me deal with a piece of knowledge I have about someone I may know. But I’m sure some VC more enterprising than I am have got it figured out. In the meantime, Secret feels like the equivalent of trawling a gossip network or anonymous forum board that is part of a bigger trend of (teenagers) wanting something more ephemeral. For the sake of society I hope this app itself is ephemeral.