This morning I opened Secret. A new app which let’s you anonymously share thoughts amongst friends but you can’t see which friend is the author of the post, just that you are a “friend” or “friend of friend” with that person.
There’s been many companies that have tried anonymity in the past but there’s something different going on here.
The first post I read this morning was this;
I got goosebumps. This was a friend of mine and instantly I felt a desire to help without knowing who it was, even if to just let them know they aren’t alone. I posted a comment with my real name and told them to reach out if they needed anything.
I wasn’t alone. 33 people responded.
People I knew, people I didn’t know. Everyone was supportive. There was a real sense of caring and helpfulness that I haven’t seen in other places, especially anonymous networks.
Then, after many responses and positive comments, the author responds with this comment:
I had this instant sense of relief and smiled.
I’ve never thought about this before, but the friend graph layer on top of anonymity might be the simple curation that was missing for creating meaningful communities in the past. It’s just enough social pressure to make people act and have a certain level of respect.
Sure, there’s obviously a lot of junk and idiots on these networks and lots of work to do to create a meaningful community, but today made me think there might be something bigger, more powerful and ultimately more meaningful to having a place that’s safe to share, a place where you don’t feel alone and a channel where you can discover who you’d feel safe to chat with.
If, at it’s core, products like Secret help us feel more comfortable to share our insecurities and hardships while in return driving positive affirmation and reminders that we aren’t alone, this could turn out to be an entirely different community than anything else online. One that could ultimately save lives and help anyone going through a hard time see the light at the end of the tunnel.
In the end, we are all in this together and sometimes we all need to be reminded of that.
I hope my friend has a great weekend.