Just Tell Me, I Won’t Repeat It!

105182105411181CDP“Whispers, secrets and lies?” read the article headline. The sub-title was “Anonymity apps rise in popularity” by the Associated Press. The original article is at website: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/whispers-secrets-and-lies-anonymity-apps-rise.

Anonymity is defined by Merriam-Webster as the state of anonymous—unnamed, unknown.

First we joined Facebook to get our pictures, intimate news flashes, sometimes improper language (in my opinion anyway) out to the world, and to “friend” as many people as possible.

laundry jpegNow we need apps to help us remain anonymous while we, in old-fashioned words, “hang out our dirty laundry”! The article says, “With the app, friends and friends of friends can share their deepest and darkest thoughts, along with gossip, criticism and even plans to propose marriage, under a cloak of near-anonymity.” Now I wonder how many people when purchasing that app will catch the word, “near-anonymity.”

Inquiring minds want to know, right? Who will let someone who has just shared a deep, dark, presumably shameful secret, get by with anonymity? Just tell ME, okay? I won’t tell anyone else! Ha!

In an age of on-line predators, identity theft, and falling in love with faceless, who knows what kind of personalities, over the internet, young people are being fed the line they can be put their thoughts and feelings “out there” and no one will know who they are. An artificial society.robot computer jpeg

“Secret joins a handful of apps such as Confide, Whisper and Yik Yak…..by offering users a way to communicate while cloaking their identities,” said the article. Oops, what happened to the “near-anonymity?”

These companies are prosperous and growing. According to venturebeat.com, “After Secret raised $8.6 million in March, and Whisper raised a massive $36 million in May, anonymous messaging app Yik Yak announced today that it has raised $10 million for its own slice of the anonymous messaging pie.”

This all sounds like good fodder for a mystery novel. There are so many new twists to our culture, using the internet to perpetrate crimes, that criminals and detectives need to keep up on technology and social media! And they do.

According to the above website, “Yik Yak, released late last year, made headlines recently when a California high school went into lockdown after someone used the app to post an anonymous bomb threat.”

Often, I see evidence in the paper that detectives or law enforcement are savvy with modern media. Recently our community had the theft of nine 40-inch flat screen TV sets from a hotel. One man reportedly distracted the clerk while others took the items. Police, searching sites on the internet I’m told, found nine flat-screen TV’s for sale in our town! (Remember “The Bong Show?” We need a big ‘bong’ right here.) Arrests have been made. This whole thing sounds too easy for a mystery novel though. Not many twists and turns in this plot.

But suppose someone confesses to torture and murder on Whisper? Now we have a mystery. I’ll bet the detectives will soon be joining the “teenagers and 20-something” the article says are the majority using these apps. And perhaps, the mystery writers will be inspired too.teen at computer jpeg

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12 Responses to Just Tell Me, I Won’t Repeat It!

  1. Reblogged this on L.LEANDER BOOKS and commented:
    This post from Neva Bodin on Writing Wranglers and Warriors has some critical information about some of the apps and social media being used today.

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  2. Great post Neva! You’ve included some information I didn’t even know about and I usually keep up on what’s going on in the cyber world. I’ve reblogged this to my own blog because I think these facts are important for people to know. It’s scary, actually. In these days of cyber bullying, pedophile and sex videos and attempts to meet people, you can see how some things that might have started out innocently enough have turned into monsters. I reluctantly joined Facebook when it began because I was in Mexico and wanted to connect with family and friends. I then began using it for promotion for my first book. Then Twitter, Linkedin and some others I don’t remember. It took so long (for the book promotion) that I slowed way down while I could make some changes. While I think some of these apps and social media are good tools, I also think some of them have taken on a life of their own. Personally, I don’t comment much on FB but do enjoy sharing positive quotes. I have never taken time to really learn to tweet because I don’t have the need to let everyone know where I am and what I’m doing at any particular time. However, I do use both for book promotion. I’ve learned to weed out what’s inappropriate or offensive and read the comments of friends and family and my author connections. I cringe when I see profanity, unacceptable racy pictures and people telling exactly where they are and what time it is on Facebook because it could be so dangerous. It’s something that I hope can somehow change but maybe those people will just find another app or social media site that will accept what they want to post. Although I love the Internet and use it constantly, some days I long for good old typewriters or even a pencil and paper. Not for long, though. The Internet makes research and writing easy! What a Catch-22!

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    • Wranglers says:

      Thanks for the comment. It truly is a Catch-22. But like everything God gave us or allowed us to figure out–money, sex, power, the internet….–it can be used for good or evil. Unfortunately, I’m not sure some people are figuring out what’s good and what’s evil anymore. I think this is a scary new thing, but I am old-fashioned. And yes, I love the internet for research, desk top publishing, keeping in touch etc. But I too, don’t spend much time on Facebook, but like to check it once in a while. Thanks so much for reading.
      Neva Bodin

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  3. Doris says:

    What an interesting idea for a story, and wonderful post.

    Guess I’m a bit old fashioned about secrets…that’s what they are. Still the possibilities. Doris

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    • Wranglers says:

      Remember when “being deep” meant keeping your own counsel and that was a good thing? Maybe we want to tell secrets on line because we long for human connections we don’t have any more? But I feel it’s kind of scary, however, as I said, ideas for novels! Thanks for reading and commenting. Neva Bodin

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  4. Isn`t it funny how life can sometimes imitate science fiction?

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  5. Gayle Irwin says:

    Intriguing post, Neva! Since I don’t have a Smartphone or tablet, I’m not up on “apps” and your post makes me more afraid of the direction technology is going. Yet, the webinar I listened to not long ago, about book apps, was very interesting — it’s too bad we can’t weed out the good from the bad! Thank you for great information and an enlightening post!

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    • Wranglers says:

      Thanks Gayle. Our work in promoting integrity in relationships and helping young people understand relationships in whatever way we can as writers is so important. The only answer is helping people discern good from bad, and that’s not so easy anymore! Neva

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  6. sstamm625 says:

    Interesting post, Neva. I guess it makes sense that the next step would be to try to add some anonymity into an internet that has become so public with sharing. I am careful about what I post and how I comment on FB, etc., and I’m a very basic Twitter user. I need to learn more about how to use it effectively. With every gain, we lose something, don’t we? Stephanie

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  7. erinfarwell says:

    Given how much people are willing to share with their pictures up on their facebook pages I shudder to think what gets shared under the dubious cloak anonymity. Not a good idea. Thought provoking post. 🙂

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  8. Nancy Jardine says:

    I hadn’t heard of the apps you’ve mentioned, Neva, but i don’t think that anyone can be anonymous these days- unless they’ve never been registered for anything at all. I try not to be controversial on Facebook since I don’t think it’s the place for it. I also respect that not everyone in my life wants to be public.

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