My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Whisper, the Anonymous Secret Sharing Social Mobile Network - Bare your Soul to Strangers

Friday, February 7, 2014

Whisper, the Anonymous Secret Sharing Social Mobile Network - Bare your Soul to Strangers

Forgive me Father
For I have sinned
It has been 6 days since my last Confession…….

Opening words of a faithful Catholic making confessions at his Church

Whisper is the latest in a list of Mobile Social Networks that are helping it members to be real, even it is to mere strangers as stated in the article “Secrets and lies: Whisper and the return of the anonymous App”, published January 22, 2014 4:00 AM PST by Jennifer Van Grove, CNET News.

It’s a lot like Snapchat’s disappearing photos and videos App as described in my blog article entitled “Snapchat now racks up 350 million shares of self-deleting snaps per day - Millennial Girl’s Litmus Test for Friends and future boyfriends”. Except the premise is different; you can post your deepest innermost feelings with a picture to match and no one has to know who you are.

Reminds me of when I was at Glenmuir High School and I used to go into the Male bathrooms to read what they wrote about the girls. Back then it was the 90’s no cell phone numbers, merely my fellow classmates writing anonymous thoughts about some of my fellow females and their amorous, unexpressed desires towards them. Most of the time, these bathroom Graffiti, which I’d call the modern precursors to Facebook, had nice crude drawings to accompany them, making it clear what the males had in mind for the mentioned female.

Whisper is the same thing. Except it isn’t just mainly about repressed sexual feeling that males have for women! You merely type you deepest darkest secret into the free App’s plain vanilla interface .I must admit though, it looks a lot like Twitter, at least the PC Version. It also feigns support for publicly searchable #Hashtags.

Feeling tempted to share you #secrets on Whisper? Then download the Whisper App from the Google Play or the Apple iTunes Store!

The App then connects to Whisper’s heavily encrypted servers, keeping your identity a secret as it matches the sentiments expressed in your tome to a image that best explains it pictorially. Then other members, also anonymous who have the App running can see what you post and comment, wallowing in the melancholy or horror that is your confession to your pastor, in this case Whisper.

The Mobile Social Network allows anyone to post, from Teenager (ages 13 to 18) to Generation X (ages 29 to 45) unspoken feeling that they otherwise keep secret. Unlike Snapchat they don’t disappear, but you identity is safe, making it possible for many to relieve their minds by expressing in a neutral place what troubles the deep inside without fear of judgment.

Whisper Origins – Snapchat and Whisper CEO on the Road least Travelled

Despite the difference between Whisper and Snapchat, the CEO’s of both companies share common socio-economic backgrounds. Started 2 years ago in 2012 by 26 year old Founder and
Whisper CEO Michael Heyward, who, like Snapchat and other Mobile Social Networks, has taken advantage of Facebook’s Restrictive Rules relating to what you can post and who can join by making BOTH anonymous as noted in my blog article entitled “FaceBook now gives Teenagers the power to make Public Posts - How making everything Public on Facebook improves their Advertising Revenue”.

Whisper CEO Michael Heyward is also an alumnus of the same school that Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel attended, the rather upscale and “preppy” Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, California. Whisper CEO Michael Heyward is the son of Andy Heyward, who was the CEO of DIC Entertainment, the Entertainment company behind “Inspector gadget” a show from which I get my nickname by the way! DIC Entertainment is no more; they've merged with Cookie Jar Entertainment since 2008.  

In keeping with the tradition of CEO's of start-up in the Silicon Valley, he skipped College and started out working at DIC Entertainment and then went to help DIC's COO Brad Brooks start TigerText. The young Michael Heyward got his hands in the Social Media cookie Jar from very early, as TigerText was a SMS (Short Messaging Service) where texts, most involved in “sexting”, disappeared after being sent, a forerunner of Snapchat.

TigerText went after the bigger fish of Corporation and Enterprise looking for an alternative to Blackberry so he struck out on his own and started Whisper in May of 2012 with help from his friend and business partner Brad Brooks. Their campus is 30 employees strong and is based in a Residential neighborhood and annoys the hell out of the neighbours.

Whisper Quiet Launch – Quietly Explosive sharing of Deep, Dark Secrets is here to Stay

The company played true to character, launching quietly with a mere 20 persons in May 2012, 18 of which were friends of Michael Hayward. Not exactly secret it soon exploded when it got some major Press from early adopters Pennsylvania State University, Michigan State, the University of Michigan, and Ohio University in September of 2012

But investors apparently love Whisper's Secret sharing prowess, with Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners having ponied up so US$24 million in VC (Venture Capital) investments in a year later as reported in “Secret-Sharing App Whisper Snags $21 Million From Sequoia, Adds Roelof Botha To Its Board”, published Sep 4, 2013 by Ryan Lawler, TechCrunch.

Since then, the stats have become a little more impressive:

1.      18 to 24 years old are the main Demographic
2.      70% of users are female.
3.      20 posts per second during peak hours
4.      10 times average daily usage by members of Whisper
5.      3 billion page views per months

Whisper need to monetize to satisfy Investors – Anonymity + Marketing = Gossip Bullying

Whisper hasn’t disclosed any membership numbers, but I suspect it may be on the same level as Ontario, Canada based Mobile Social Network Kik, which recently reached 100 million users back in December 2013 as noted in my blog article entitled “Kik hits the 100 million member mark - Open Source Mobile Rise of the Planet of the Apes for Mobile Social Networks to develope smartphone OS Defense Against the Dark Arts of Google+”.

But they have plans to monetize via advertizing and well as turning Whisper into the Gossip Girl of the Social Mobile Networking world as reported in “3 Reasons To Be Wary Of Secret-Sharing App Whisper's Claim To Anonymity”, published 1/24/2014 @ 4:54PM, by Parmy Olsen, Forbes.
FB’s been addressing these issues, recently allowing Teenagers (ages 13 to 17) to make public posts even as they make it easier for their parents to find them as noted in my blog article entitled “FaceBook now gives Teenagers the power to make Public Posts - How making everything Public on Facebook improves their Advertising Revenue” a rather strange and counterintuitive move on the part of FB that’s apparently aimed at boosting ad revenue and their stock price!

Throw in the fact that Whisper’s Servers records the real identities of persons who sign up makes their Mobile Social Network a Tempting Hackers Target. Not to mention Big Brother in the form of the NSA (National Security Agency) and the British GCHQ who’ve been known to use apps with poor security to spy on people on their smartphones and Tablets as reported in “Angry Birds creator claims no Internet devices may be safe from NSA”, published January 28, 2014 By Andrew Couts, DigitalTrends and “Angry Birds and 'leaky' phone apps targeted by NSA and GCHQ for user data”, published Tuesday 28 January 2014 07.51 GMT by James Ball, The UK Guardian.

Despite the naywayers, this thrill of near-discovery is similar to Snapchat and is going to spiral exponentially upwards as I’d pointed out in my blog article entitled “Snapchat Leaked Facebook page shut down but Snapchat Leaked website still live - Snapchat's Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol is really Much Ado About Nothing”.

So it’s really about responsible sharing as you ultimately determine what people know about you as Whisper quietly marches towards profitability.

Snapchat already allows young girls to bare their barely-there breasts; Whisper, despite the danger of Secrets or That Awkward Moment (2014) being revealed, will continue to be fuelled by the desire to Bare your Soul to Strangers in confession.

Forgive me Father, for I have Sinned….. get your confession on here:

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