Millions Of Mobile Users ‘Whisper'ing Secrets With New App
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Seeking Alpha Analyst Since 2012
The legendary actor Errol Flynn once said, "It isn't what they say about you, it's what they whisper." The makers of the Whisper app can only hope that's the case as the social network seeks to challenge Facebook, Snapchat and the like. But unlike it competitors, Whisper offers anonymity. It allows users to post thoughts and secrets without creating a profile. And mobile users are grabbing hold of the concept. The two-year old app is now used by millions and is approaching 3 billion monthly page views, according to a December report fromBusiness Insider.
How does it work? Once a user downloads the Whisper app for either Android or iOS, he or she can anonymously post statuses. The app then suggests a variety of background images based on key words in the comment. By choosing a background image, the user creates his or her own anonymous meme. Others can then "like" and "share" whispers, similar to other social networks, and notifications are sent when statuses receive these accolades. Users have been able to voice feelings they would never outwardly tell the world, such as secret likes or hates or even sexual orientations.
"Whisper is for statuses I can't post on Facebook," one anonymous user recently posted.
Whisper CEO Michael Heyward told Forbes the startup was created for a generation aware of its digital footprint.
"In the first iteration of the Internet, Web 1.0 was anonymous by default because it didn't have a social layer," he said. "And there could be negative trolling that went along with that. Did you know who was on the other side of that chat room? We didn't know who was on the other side. So then there was this huge push for everything to be revealed - as with Facebook, for example. With Whisper, we wanted to create a place that was anonymous, but built around compassion and empathy, showing that we are more similar than we are different," he said. "You will not be bullied. You will be accepted. We want people to feel safe here."
Whisper reaches a remarkable demographic. According to Heyword, less than 4 percent of Whisper users are younger than 18, and the majority fall between ages 17 and 28. An astounding 70 percent of its users are women. But the app also boasts more than 10,000 soldiers in Afghanistan among its ranks, who often share their experiences with and feelings about war.
With Whisper, "You are who you are when no one else is looking," Heyward told Business Insider. "Anonymity is a really powerful tool. But we think about it like that Spiderman' quote: 'With great power comes great responsibility.' Think about all the things you can do with a hammer. You can build something great … or you can kill someone."
And true to that sentiment, Heyward has gone to great lengths to keep the content on Whisper respectful. The startup employs 92 people to moderate content and comments, ensuring content is respectful - no filth and no bullying allowed. That's in addition to 32 full-time employees.
So is a whisper more powerful than a statement? Check out Whisper for yourself and find out!
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