Most of the material we write about social media apps centers on how crucial they are for creating a brand for yourself. There’s no doubt that branding is and should be a priority for people in practically every industry but are we limiting ourselves by tying personal branding and identity with social media?
We don’t need to read the mountains of existing studies that state how inaccurately people portray themselves on social media platforms. We don’t actually see the world in sepia tones, nor is every meal we eat some beautifully presented fusion food on white plates, but by communicating through self-aggrandizing images and tag-lines we could be losing the chance to share actual relevant information.
It could be easy to write this whole topic off as being too superficial to dedicate much thought to, but looking at this issue a little closer we see even well-intentioned users (that
would sooner die than take a selfie) are still hesitant to present real information incase the wrong person were to see it. I can think of at least five questions or statements I would love to post to get feedback or just to get things off my chest. But I won’t. Why? Because honesty (at times) can have negative social and professional repercussions.
It takes a lot to get me excited about an app, especially one that claims to have a social function. But Secret might actually revolutionize the way we share information. I know – that’s a pretty big claim, but it could very well hold up to this lofty praise.
The app allows users to anonymously share information with other people from their contact list (who also have the app). Contacts can read, “love” (Secret’s version of liking), and comment on posts. The reason I think this could change the way information is spread is that by making the process anonymous (but still sharable) posting becomes a truer form of sharing because it’s not about ego or bragging.
Secret presents the idea that “it’s not about who you are – it’s about what you say” to potential users on their website. Sounds simple, but it’s almost mind-blowing when you think about how different that is from how we have used social media up until this point.
How does this little revolution work? It’s pretty simple. Users enter posts that get put over images or backgrounds, and this is shared with Secret users from their contact lists. The feed of available “secrets” is a visually appealing stream of anonymous posts that people in their contact lists have published. If a contact of yours “loves” your post, it will then be shared with users from your contact’s contact list. Once the post moves beyond two degrees it gets geotagged and becomes available for anyone to see (but not to comment on).
Security seems pretty tight. It’s hosted on Google App Engine and is written in a mix of Go, Java, and Python. They also claim that all “message data” is encrypted before being written onto a non-relational data store. They also don’t send “raw” email addresses or phone numbers. This sort of data is hashed so that the original contact info stays on your phone.
I can’t help but get excited about this. The potential for this thing is huge, and could very well assuage the disillusionment a lot of us feel as a result of the internet not changing the world the way we thought it would. It’s not everyday that you stumble across an app with that has potential to have such a profound social and politcal impact. Just think what would happen if politicians started using it- the Daily Show would never be the same.