Secret, Whisper, Yik Yak . . . the list of anonymous apps goes on and on. I love social media; but with so many of these new anonymous apps hitting the market, I’ll admit that I’ve been asking myself who needs friends (or at least the local “hey, meet me for coffee” friends) anymore. Now there’s an app for that. Or is there?
Secret just got an update. What’s interesting is one of the new features they added is the ability to contribute anonymous posts to a new group, your colleagues at work. Users now have 3 possible groups for posting anonymous messages: friends (and friends of friends), those located nearby, and colleagues at work. The three groups are completely separate.
Other new features are included in this update as well. But, I want to focus on the fact that “colleagues at work” was added as a group. We’re seeing a rise in anonymous sharing apps. Secret, Whisper, Yik Yak and a host of others are hitting the app market at a rapid rate. It’s hard to keep track of them. Many say, “these apps are being used by teens.” But, if that were the case, why would Secret include a new feature, requiring new coding on their part, for users beyond High School?
What’s more telling is to view some of the secrets people share.Take a look at some that I have captured. Many of these don’t appear to be posted by teenagers.
Clearly there are a number of adults seeking support anonymously. It’s easy to make assumptions about others. But the number of new, anonymous sharing apps and the rate at which they draw new users makes me feel that we need to look at the time we invest in others. As a parent of 2 young adults and a friend of many who use social media (including myself), these numbers cause me to step back and ask myself a few questions:
1. Am I transparent with my friends and family? Or do they somehow feel they can’t share both their great moments and their deepest struggles with me?
2. Am I investing in so many connections that I end up with hundreds of “friends,” but I don’t have time for a handful of really deep friendships? I’m talking about those friends who offer guidance when needed, are your biggest cheerleaders helping you conquer your biggest challenges in life, and know your thoughts before you speak them.
3. Would I rather confide in friends and family who have invested time in a relationship with me and have my best interest in mind? Or, do I prefer a random group of strangers who don’t know me and have a very limited viewpoint from which to advise?
One last thought, we’re telling our teens character that counts and who you are in real life is who you are online. Not every thought should be shared. But sometimes, when advice on a sticky issues is needed wouldn’t it be better to seek out support from a close friend or family member who can listen and give you loving and honest feedback? I love social media but I don’t believe an anonymous app can replace the kind shoulder of a good friend.