Anonymous app Whisper: safe space or cyberbullying?

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Anonymous app Whisper: safe space or cyberbullying?

Senior Abby Larsen and sophomore Kennedy Brown pose in the library with the app, Whisper. The app has over 87 users from West so far.  “I think most of the time when people first hear about it they think it’s mostly for negative things because that’s how most anonymous apps work. But on Whisper, there is a place for just our school. That’s where I am most of the time. Everywhere else, there are mean comments, but mostly at our school it’s just positive things,” Brown said.

Senior Abby Larsen and sophomore Kennedy Brown pose in the library with the app, Whisper. The app has over 87 users from West so far. “I think most of the time when people first hear about it they think it’s mostly for negative things because that’s how most anonymous apps work. But on Whisper, there is a place for just our school. That’s where I am most of the time. Everywhere else, there are mean comments, but mostly at our school it’s just positive things,” Brown said.

Kathryn Harter

Senior Abby Larsen and sophomore Kennedy Brown pose in the library with the app, Whisper. The app has over 87 users from West so far. “I think most of the time when people first hear about it they think it’s mostly for negative things because that’s how most anonymous apps work. But on Whisper, there is a place for just our school. That’s where I am most of the time. Everywhere else, there are mean comments, but mostly at our school it’s just positive things,” Brown said.

Kathryn Harter

Kathryn Harter

Senior Abby Larsen and sophomore Kennedy Brown pose in the library with the app, Whisper. The app has over 87 users from West so far. “I think most of the time when people first hear about it they think it’s mostly for negative things because that’s how most anonymous apps work. But on Whisper, there is a place for just our school. That’s where I am most of the time. Everywhere else, there are mean comments, but mostly at our school it’s just positive things,” Brown said.

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Another platform for anonymous opinions and comments has been gaining speed with students: Whisper. Similar to Yik Yak, the app allows users to post anonymous comments that are shared with other users in a specific location.

“You can just comment random things about whatever you want and it’s anonymous so nobody knows who it is. I got rid of it, actually, because it started to creep me out,” sophomore Kalyn Neuwirth-Deutsch said. “Most of it is just stuff they wanted to get off their mind that they couldn’t really tell anyone, but since you don’t know who it is, it was okay. There was stuff about Mr. Longhorn and stuff about the One Acts. A lot of the stuff is really optimistic, though. Somebody posted ‘didn’t get into One Acts, there’s always next year’.”

User cloud_ix

User cloud_ix

Users can like, comment and post, paralleling many other popular social media sites. Along with an open forum, users can create private chats with other people on the app. The app has a two options for usernames: one given to you by the app or one you can create yourself.

“Most of the things that are talked about on there you 
would be judged for. If you were to say these out in public, most of the things on there, there is a lot of social stigma around it and it wouldn’t be socially acceptable,” junior Parker Nenonen said.

Sophomore Kennedy Brown downloaded the app to spread positivity.

“I just heard about it a couple weeks ago. Some things people say on there are kinda mean, but most of them are actually compliments and I think that’s really nice. I like posting stuff on there to compliment others because I think it makes everybody happier,” Brown said.

User hunter_Skittle

User hunter_Skittle

Popular posts include: “pro tips for freshmen,” “top five nicest people at our school,” and “Sometimes I just can’t deal with the people here.”

Senior Jacob Cupps was listed as one of the “cutest senior guys” under a post on the app.

“I typically abstain from fads and trends as far as apps go because I think it’s stupid and a waste of time. I don’t really care that I was talked about on it. But depending on what’s said I could see people being really offended by it or being really complimented by it, but I guess that’s the purpose of the app,” Cupps said.

Contrary to past anonymous outlets that have been created this year, including the now-deactivated Twitter page @pwesthotchicks, some users see Whisper as a positive outlet so far.

“I think it’s mostly positive. There are some negative things, but whenever someone posts a negative thing, everyone kinda shoots that down and tries to report it. But there are a lot of compliments on there and I think that’s really positive,” Brown said.

Other users think that the app’s anonymity can cause confusion.

“It’s both positive and negative, because people will ask who are the hottest seniors or freshmen. It can really hurt somebody’s feelings if they aren’t on the list. Possibly, if they are on the list they’re confused and they want to figure out who is saying that they’re cute and you don’t know who it is,” Neuwirth-Deutsch said.

User Leaf_Yaddah

User Leaf_Yaddah

The app has also been a forum for discussions about the LGBTQA+ community.

“All of these whispers about LGBT stuff remind me how ignorant some people are at this school and it makes me uncomfortable,” user detgvfh [username] said.

But Nenonen feels that these discussions are healthy for those involved.

User Cloud_Mage

User Cloud_Mage

“I think it’s good that people are able to say how they feel without being judged by people they know. It’s like a safe place, and people are able to talk it out with other people without having to put their name on it. They can just let it all out,” Nenonen said.

Brown observes that the West community on Whisper is set apart in comparison to other schools for its positivity.

“I think most of the time when people first hear about it they think it’s mostly for negative things because that’s how most anonymous apps work. But on Whisper, there is a place for just our school. That’s where I am most of the time. Everywhere else, there are mean comments, but mostly at our school it’s just positive things,” Brown said.

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