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Inside the Angsty, Affirming World of Whisper

Inside the Angsty Affirming World of Whisper Daily Intelligencer


If you're older than 25, you may not have heard of Whisper. But the app — already popular among high-school and college students across the country — is quickly becoming the most interesting social network around. It allows people to post anonymous Whispers (photos with a line or two of text overlaid on them, in the style of a Reddit image macro) which can then be "hearted" or replied to by other users. Users can view popular Whispers, Whispers with a common keyword, or Whispers posted from a nearby location.

Opening Whisper for the first time can feel like traveling back to an earlier, more primitive version of the Internet. For years on the web, anonymity was the default mode. Then, the rise of Facebook gave way to the single-identity Internet, in which people were forced to use their real names to post blog comments, listen to music on Spotify, and do all manner of Internet tasks. The de-anonymization of the Internet was a boon for opponents of cyber-bullying and other dangerous behaviors, but it also created a performative impulse. Now, with our names attached to the things we do online, we curate vainly, posting and tagging only what makes us look good, and removing what doesn't. Whisper is one of the organizations trying to reclaim the transparency that anonymity can breed.

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Whisper is like Snapchat without all the annoying parts of Snapchat.

whisper is more about disclosure versus sexting

Snapchat is used more for cheating than for sexting.

But you make a good point. Snapchat is with people known to you; Whisper are strangers.

cheating: marriage or tests?

Primarily tests -- most of Snapchat is young and unattached.

Actually, so is Whisper, but they don't use a Whisper to cheat. They use it to confess to cheating.

Along those lines, Snapchat is like their night club and Whisper is like their priest.

The new religion of the internet. I like it.

Everyone needs someone s/he can confess to.

Whisper is PostSecret 2.0 -- except you can pay to communicate with the other posters.

Correct, with one addition: I get about 30 notifications a day whenever someone near me (according to the GPS) has whispered something.

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