Secret is empowering…and very dangerous

I was enchanted. What can I say?

Almost twenty years ago, I discovered the Internet. Or more specifically, chat rooms. I used to say this as a bio, “If the Internet was not invented, I would not be here.” I meant it truly. Because without it, I would have never developed a voice. I would not have developed an identity and a self-expression that allowed me to be heard. With words…this medium allowed me to speak. Chat rooms paired with my incredible speed of typing allowed the volume of my voice to be heard with everyone else. Loud, quiet, male, female. I could be anyone. And it was so empowering.

But this is not to say that I delved into fake identities and embraced anonymity. I reveled in being me. But now in this medium, I was heard. I was the first one who I knew…who embraced the idea of online friends, online relationships. It was just natural for me.

And yet.

Just recently, I discovered the new medium on the iOS app on Secret. The familiar feelings came rushing back. I have always disliked the image-focused element that dominates the web. Facebook, instagram…and nearly everything else. Twitter barely satisfies that void when my voice is drowned out by everyone else whose reputation supersedes mine.

Suddenly, with Secret, the words I say are equalized in my network. I am as loud as the person next to me. People will pay attention and will pay more attention if they like it. It’s the words itself after all.

Like this secret.

Yet, what’s so alluring is also dangerous. Anonymity allows us to quickly pass judgement. It asks us to judge as we would of a dangerous persona. It prompts us to protect ourselves. It allows our own fears to bubble up without any consideration. And that’s what doesn’t work.

2 thoughts on “Secret is empowering…and very dangerous

  1. I haven’t tried Secret since I haven’t upgraded to iOS 7, but I like its PostSecret-like premise paired with the social feel of comments. I remember the chat room days, specifically AOL! It was a nicer world back then, in a way, when we didn’t have to sell ourselves on social media just to get heard by people we don’t already know. I’m happy for you that you’re happier using Secret. Btw, when I first saw the title of this post, I thought it was about the book, The Secret. Embarrassing on my part, I guess :P

  2. Well, it’s not quite happiness…it just feels empowering. I didn’t really quite finish my last thought. If you have followed any of the tech news, Secret is exposing the dark unbelly about human nature. It’s brutal just like anonymous commenting. People rip people to shreds on this thing. And yet, what is interesting…is that because the network is limited to “friends in your address book”, the ripping is usually more intellectual and doesn’t fall apart into name calling. But would I call it great discourse? Probably not.

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