post secret. whisper. secret. rumr. anonymity is all the rage these days in the investment/tech community. these are apps created by folks who have been somewhat public during their careers, creating something that they think “the kids” will like. so far, it hasn’t taken off.
and it won’t.
take secret, which has already been written about more than whatsapp ever was, and we know how whatsapp did. secret fluctuates somewhere between the 800th and 1500th most popular free app on the app store (in the US). whisper has faired a bit better, hovering around 300th most popular in the US on the app store. what does this tell us?
nobody really gives a shit. (whatsapp is the 21st most popular app in the US right now, by the way.)
anonymous apps and sites are nothing new, remember chatroulette? yes, the site that some swore was the next facebook, turned into a kaleidoscope of dongs. go read about how that one turned out. we’re seeing the next wave of that hype with these apps. “next big thing!” “what the kids want!” and big dollars being dropped into these services.
and they’re tanking. hard.
the worry that i have about these apps are that the people involved in creating them don’t understand, and don’t care about, the ramifications of what can come from the platform that they’ve developed. furthermore, the folks that defend them as being something grand, a big social experiment for the betterment of man, are the ones that have the most to lose if the services lose. that’s a major red flag.
safety and security is important. large companies have entire teams dedicated to handling harassment and bullying claims, police inquiries, etc. these startups don’t have that knowledge or infrastructure. and if they pump and dump for a quick buck, they won’t ever have to worry about it.
if we’ve learned anything about pop culture, especially when it comes to teens, is that things take off, and die off, quickly. the natural curve of popularity happens so quickly that we’re often left with a “how did this happen?” feeling. when you have to manufacture “movements” they don’t turn out the same way. it’s like creating a video just to make it “go viral.”
do people even want apps and experiences like this? if they did, we’d know already.