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The Anti-Social Network

Sssh… Don’t Shout About It

Whisper, the self-dubbed ‘anti-social network’, is continuing to provide a unique service as Iraqi civilians turn to the anonymous app to air their voices in an otherwise censored and shut down war zone. 

During the intensifying conflict in the country, Whisper is becoming an outlet for Iraqis to share information and post their thoughts anonymously. One recent Whisper declared that the ‘US Embassy in Baghdad is evacuating..!!!!’ hours before official media reports confirmed the event. 

Others are more lyrical with one Whisper user posting: ‘All social media were stopped in Iraq my only escape is whisper’. Another said they were ‘waiting our miserable destiny while ISIS progressing towards Baghdad!!!!’. Civilians are posting everything from frustration with the government or foreign forces to the more intimate idiosyncrasies of everyday life and relationships in Iraq.

Whisper has over four billion users but importantly doesn’t store its users’ personal data; you can’t search for users, view others’ profiles or see who "hearts" your whispers.

The app lets you share a private thought with the text super imposed over an image, the complete antithesis to the extrovert and in-your-face set up of Facebook and Instagram where baby pictures and extravagant parties compete for attention. Instead, the focus here is on honesty wrapped up in anonymity. 

As we’re seeing in the case of the outspoken Iraqi citizens, Whisper taps into people’s eagerness to be heard and accepted without fear of judgment. Instead of carefully managing your online reputation, users can be 100% themselves; sometimes though the secretive nature of the app makes it difficult to verify the authenticity of the posts.

Whisper's CEO and co-founder Michael Heyward talks about the rise of anonymous honesty in social media, saying that "Whisper is a place where you can come on and talk about anything."

Whisper’s increasing popularity ties into supposed decline of Facebook, who published a 6% decrease in organic reach and stricter algorithms working against smaller businesses. The rise of apps similar to Whisper, like Snapchat and WhatsApp, perhaps indicates to a change in focus towards a more private and intimate social interaction.

Recent graduate and now interning as content editor, when she's not writing articles Katie can quite likely be found festival-ing, holiday-ing or reading a book (dedicated English student that she is). Follow her @KatieAtSMF.

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The Anti-Social Network Reviewed by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 Rating: 5
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