Streaming real-life confessions that priests hear in quiet confession might be considered entertainment by the Catholic church if it didn’t collect cash every Sunday. No one with a dog collar plans such an enterprise – but the mobile web is the next best thing.
Users can use whisper messages anonymously to share their secrets with millions of others as a means of confession, catharsis, and a form of nameless performance. In addition to having “many millions” of active users, according to Whisper’s founder, Michael Heyward, Whisper has recently seen a surge of growth and media attention, being dubbed a mashup of Twitter and Snapchat. Especially among young people, the app is famous for griping about relationship problems and eating disorders.
Whisper lets you share your thoughts anonymously with the world, according to its App Store listing. Whisper notifies you if you’re within a mile of someone who has shared a post. Users type their public missives onto photos and a grid displays the most popular Whispers each day (it’s like confession bear with stock photos for the meme generation).
3 Reasons for Wary of Secrets – Whisper Messages
- The Company Is Turning Its Confessions into Viral-Worthy Content, Similar to Upworthy OrBuzzfeed
The company is improving how it categorizes its posts, and it has also hired new viral marketing experts. Eric Yellin, a marketing executive at Hulu, has been hired to help Whisper distribute its secrets onto third-party sites and apps.
A second big fish was also poached: Neetzan Zimmerman, the one-person viral machine that generates 70-80% of Gawker’s views. In December, Heyward contacted Zimmerman after seeing this profile of him in The Wall Street Journal, which suggested Zimmerman was the Internet’s most popular blogger.) Zimmerman will become Whisper’s Editor-in-Chief on Monday, and he will help package Whisper for a broader audience.
- A Time When Mobile Advertisers Are Using Location- And Behavior-Tracking to Find Out More About Mobile Users, Whisper May Soon Show Advertisements
Do you think Whisper will eventually show ads?Heyward says, “Definitely.”A number of advertisers are approaching his startup, and Whisper’s secret sauce lies in its counterintuitive insights into human stereotypes. For example, a surprising number of posts mention people in their 20s and 30s who still play Pokemon.
“I’m not thinking about” advertising based on user behavior, says Heyward; Whispers are divided into categories for a better user experience and nothing else.But it is no secret that advertising agencies have been getting better at creating ads using what is called “hyper-targeting local users” using GPS locations and information gathered through apps, and they prioritize reach over privacy.
- Whisper Tracks Users So That Unscrupulous Types Can Be Banned, So You’re Not Perfectly Anonymous to Whisper Itself
It is admirable that Heyward wants Whisper to be a “compassionate and supportive” community where users can be themselves. I don’t believe in trolls, bullying, or being mean to one another.” he says.
There are fundamental differences between it and the freewheeling imageboard 4chan, from which Anonymous emerged. Heyward emphasizes that 4chan is not being attacked personally. “I’m very different from you when it comes to anonymity,” he says. Free speech is not something I’m opposed to. Quite the contrary. There is no way to yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded room.”
Nevertheless, achieving that requires constant monitoring and, technically, compromises the anonymity of Whisper users. Whether it is done algorithmically or manually, we take a look at everything, says Heyward. Each day, several thousand posts are viewed by humans. My number one priority – will it get safer as it gets bigger, or will it get less safe as it gets bigger?”