I remember the short-lived fad of Formspring back in the days when we used to pull each other’s hair and play lame pranks to exhibit our affections for one another: the infamous and unflattering middle school days. But when we weren’t writing silly love notes and learning the true meaning of cliques, we were in the confines of our bedrooms at home, scrolling through the accumulation of anonymous posts that had congregated on our profiles throughout the day. Some were positive (“Nice hair”, “You’re cute”, whatever, blah blah blah), but the majority of the posts that I had read on Formspring were comments that easily took it too far. Yet users were hooked, obsessed even, with being able to express all the thoughts they had been itching to say without experiencing the consequences of their words . We were finally able to tell the people we had issues with, anonymously, how much they suck. Needless to say, the word of the power of anonymity spread like wildfire.
As we’ve reached this point in time, however, we are far past the Formspring age. Technology has advanced tremendously since the common use of flip phones and the rage of sidekicks. Now, many of us have Apple products, iPhones, and we find ourselves consumed by smartphone apps that claim anonymity for those who wish to post their “secrets” online without being traced. Just for the adrenaline rush of the world being able to know and access the information but not determine the source. I admit, it is somewhat exhilarating. But I don’t believe in online anonymity.
With that being said, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I read one of CNN’s latest technology articles confronting the realization that the app “Secret”, similar to the concept of “Whisper” (an app that I had previously explored) allowed users to be able to trace back posts of the friends that they had linked the app with, essentially defeating the purpose of the anonymously-posting app. Why are we surprised that technology isn’t yet perfect? Why are we surprised that it has hitches and glitches sometimes? No technology is perfect and 100% reliable, and these types of “anonymous” apps are still relatively new. They’re still being improved upon, reworked, and criticized. There is still room for them to grow and develop. Everything in life requires trial and error to improve, and this was an error on their part that I honestly feel like they’re going to be taking much more seriously now that it has been brought to light. I doubt it was their master plan all along to tell the world about your raging foot fetish.
The verdict is essentially this: If you’re fearful of your secret ever getting released to the public, whether it be online or otherwise, with your name attached, it’s best that you leave it for the mind to bear. The internet isn’t always the best place to harbor the truths we sometimes wish we could forget.
CNN Article Referenced: ‘Secret’ app didn’t actually keep you anonymous
What are your thoughts on apps like “Secret”?