Smartphone trends appear to move at a quicker pace than a Japanese bullet train, the nature of our fickle and impatient society is such that an app could quite easily be dismissed simply for taking too long to install.
We are a world of ‘dumbwalkers’ (people walking around the streets while looking at their phones for serious, instead of where they are going), repetitive strain injuries (on our thumbs) and we are incessantly unable to leave that piece of metal, plastic and wires alone for longer than a second. This is probably not what Darwin had in mind. But this is how it is.
The latest craze amongst the conversationally challenged is a range of ‘anonymous’ apps.
Secret allows users to share messages anonymously with friends. We know it is a friend who is saying this, but we just don’t know who. This is a cyber-bully’s dream of course, and inroducing the very idea of being able to anonymously troll seems to have worked out pretty well for the developers. The app has been featured in some pretty big publications both in the UK and America, which isn’t going to do any harm to the download numbers.
Perhaps less likely to encourage trolling, Whisper allows users to express themselves anonymously initially, and then connect with like-minded people. The Whisper community is apparently built on honesty and trust. So that should work out quite well.
The trouble is perhaps that the entire ‘trustworthy’ community is very likely filled with those who in real-life society, it may be best to give a wide-berth to.
A quick browse through the timeline of ‘Whisper’ either reveals the need for every member to grab themselves a few hours of therapy, or the wider problem that suggests that everyone with a smartphone is actually on the edge of darkness, even during the second world war there were people with less issues than you see in five minutes on here….
“Yesterday I was diagnosed as a sociopath. I always knew there was something different about me.”
“I am in the most unhealthy relationship. I never thought I would be that girl who put up with filth.”
“I’m still tracking my ex via find my iPhone”
There are more disturbing examples than these. Quite what the therapeutic value of posting – or more to the point, reading – these messages is, is not known at this time.
Going one step further than the other two, Awkward allows users to anonymously record blurred videos confessing their darkest secrets and confessions. This is a good idea to anonymously rid your conscience of all of your sins without fear of upsetting anybody, if nobody has ever heard your voice before.
Users can choose the level of pixilation applied to their face during the 10-second video confession, and it can then be viewed on social media or at a unique URL.
Many of the confessions are far less about secret mental disorders than “Whisper”, these tend to revolve more about toilet accidents and sexual encounters. The app also plays a quirky little tune while listening to the caught-short stories. It’s less than invigorating as a concept.
These dynamic and creative applications are likely to have the longevity of other apps such as “Yo”, the one which allowed users to say “yo” to other users who could then say “yo” back to the user who had just said “yo” to them.
It would appear that there actually is very little elsewhere to go in terms of social media now if these are the best follow-ups to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (the big three). People said there was nowhere left to go after The Beatles (a group which had similar impact on society to social media in modern terms) had apparently covered off all the bases, yet music continued to progress (although popular music seems to be somewhat stuck in a rut right now).
Maybe someone somewhere is currently working on a worthwhile adversary to the three currently popular options- all of which have seen traffic reduce dramatically as the fickle society they helped to cultivate comes back to bite them….