The secret's out about anonymous messaging apps. Every week seems to bring news of rapid user growth, new startups and investments in the space, as well as a fair share of controversies.
Counter to the Facebook movement, which has been about using true identity online, these anonymous messaging apps like Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak offer users a digital mask to post behind.
The idea is that they enable people to have uninhibited conversations that a true online identity would thwart. Their popularity, in fact, spurred Facebook to recently reverse its stance on anonymous intentity and launch its own version.
But the tools are not just footloose and fancy-free fun. There have been many reports linking them to cyber-bullying. And like many fledgling technologies, observers have also expressed concerns about security and privacy.
Despite the obvious risks for brands, today’s race to be crowned "first" with emerging technologies means some brands have started to experiment with anonymous messaging apps. Gap brazenly so, with its post: "This is the first Fortune 500 company to post on Secret. Guess who?"
But beyond the gimmicks, should brands be taking anonymous sharing apps seriously, especially considering their popularity among teens and young adults? Or is it better to sit this one out until they overcome some of their teething problems?
Campaign US put together this debate featuring contributions from:
- Luke Eid, global innovation director, TBWA Worldwide
- Kyle Bunch, group director, mobile and social platforms, global lead, R/GA
- Liz Whittaker, group managing director, digital operations, mcgarrybowen
- Tim Dunn, director of strategy and mobile, Isobar US