As humans, our collective excitement over reading tantalizing anonymous messages is nothing new.
You could say it started with the old message in a bottle, or the anonymous love letter, or — if we’re talking Internet age — the popular anonymous confession site Post Secret. It was only a matter of time until the Internet repurposed the addictive act of passing along secrets into its own sprawling online community.
And that community is named Whisper.
Whisper is an Android and iOS app that allows users to share and discuss anonymous confessions. And when I say that it’s sprawling, I mean it: According to a Whisper rep, Whisper gets more than 3 billion page views a month, which, as the Atlantic noted, is a lot more than all of CNN. Whisper’s popularity began among the hip youths of UCLA, where the app was first launched and tested, and it has grown on the strength of its popularity with young people (users are primarily 18-24 and 70 percent female).
Basically, the app enables you to speak your mind to the world anonymously, in the form of a short burst of text on top of a photo. Unlike Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr, you can’t build up a social network, nor do you have to give up personal information to use the app. This keeps things super-anonymous: no friend lists, no cliques, no sign-in through Facebook, no attachment to your real name. Just an anonymous “whisper” to the world.
This is how it works:
1. When you open the Whisper app, you’re automatically brought to the app’s home screen of Featured posts.
2. If you’d like to create your own Whisper, tap the + at the bottom of the screen.
3. Type a confession — don’t worry; it’s anonymous. And tap Next in the upper-right corner.
4. Whisper will automatically suggest an image to go with your message, which is overlayed on the photo. If you don’t like the image Whisper suggested, you can tap the Search option at the bottom-left corner of the screen and swipe through more suggestions.
For some reason Whisper really wants to overlay my message on a girl with a sari or a porn star body. Hey, I’m starting to understand why this app might be popular!
5. Because I’m still not seeing anything truly representative of what it’s like to be a tech blogger, I’m going to choose the Camera option (next to Search) and take my own photo.
That’s much better…
6. You can change the font by tapping the Font section at the bottom of the app.
7. Finally, you can tag the photo to make it easier to search within the Whisper community. Whisper breaks up your text to make its own tag suggestions, but you can add more. When you’ve finished, click Done.
8. Then click Post on the upper-right corner of your screen.
9. If you’re posting for the first time, Whisper will suggest a weird nickname to use within the app so you can remain anonymous. Why have they dubbed me “Mouthy_melody”? God only knows. Thankfully, I can alter it as I see fit.
10. You’ll then have to create a PIN and enter it twice for security purposes.
11. It’ll bring you back over to the home page. At the top of the screen, swipe left to Latest. That’s where you’ll see your post.
12. Tap your whisper. From there, you can tap the Share button on the bottom-right corner of the screen to post to various social avenues. But, you know, the whole point is that this is supposed to be anonymous.
13. Interested in the response to your Whisper? Go back to the app’s home screen by clicking the W at the top of the screen. To see your activity, including who has hearted and/or replied to your Whisper, click on the three horizontal lines to the left. To read your private messages, tap the message bubbles on the upper-right corner of the screen.
14. After you’ve tapped Activity, you can browse the replies to your Whisper. Choose which type of responses you’d like to see.
15. You’ll be brought to a larger version of your Whisper. Tap the bottom-left corner, where the heart and arrow icons are displayed. A feed of all the replies will pop up.
16. Tap on any reply you want to see in full view.
17. When you open the reply, you can tap on it again to see where it came from (displayed in the upper-left corner of the screen). From there, you can also “heart” the response, reply to it or direct message the user.
And that ends your tutorial on how to Whisper a Whisper. I’d show you how to invite your friends to the app, but my instincts tell me that you’re better off floating around this weird soup of secrets solo.
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