“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.
Now 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.
“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.