Secret, an app that allows its users to share messages anonymously within their circle of friends and with the public, announced today that it was shutting down.
And I couldn’t be happier.
While I never root for anyone or any business to fail, and I admire the effort involved in developing and marketing a business idea, Secret was just a bad idea from the start that got caught up in the social networking hype.
Secret, as well as similar apps such as Yik Yak and Whisper, and to some extent Snapchat, all fall into the category of apps that promise its users anonymity.
I’ve always questioned why you need anonymity when using social media, to me it almost seems like an oxymoron. How are you being social if you are also trying to remain anonymous?
To me it seems obvious what attracts users to such apps – the ability to say something you likely wouldn’t otherwise say since you face no repercussions. The apps are a perfect place to attack other users.
If you don’t have the courage to sign your name to a message you are about to post which could possibly offend someone, then you shouldn’t be posting such a message.
It comes down to personal responsibility. These anonymous apps allow people to avoid taking personal responsibility for their actions, and I don’t think that is the type of behavior we should encourage.
I’ve always been a fan of using real names on the Internet; if you write something and you don’t want to sign your real name to it, then I think you should probably think twice before posting such a message.
So goodbye Secret; I hope it starts a trend of shutting down similar apps.
Perhaps we can look back on 2015 as the year we came to our senses, and realized that it’s better to be kind and transparent than mean and secretive.
If you would like to read more about these anonymous apps, here are a couple of links: