Everyone loves a good gossip, and sharing a secret with your best friend is one of the biggest pleasures in life. Sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings is a big part of reality, different therapeutic methods include digging into the soul, not to mention the part confession takes in religions like Christianity and Judaism. Everyone knows that in order to keep your body healthy you need to keep your mind and soul in good shape, and getting things off your chest has a big part in it.
It's not hard to see why different ways to share secrets have always been so popular, people write nameless internet blogs, share their opinions in different chat rooms and forums, even the wishes they write and tuck in the Western Wall are a way to share what's inside their hearts. Lately, anonymous apps and websites started to appear everywhere, and no wonder there.
We are sure you've heard about Secret, the phone app that has been driving people crazy for the past few months. The app invites you to "speak freely" and "Find out what your friends are really thinking and feeling". Just like Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, Secret lets you add and follow your Facebook friends and contact list. The difference is that whatever you write will not have your name on it.
Not long after Secret got to Israel, news about horrible reactions started to rise everywhere. People used the app to force people out of the closet, post sexual comments including many specifics without neglecting real names and sometimes even a picture, no less, taking gossip into a whole different level. This terrible phenomenon's worst damage was the impact it had among kids and teenagers. Without watching a person's reaction you don't deal with the outcomes of what you do, with no emotional reactions there is no end to the damage a person can cause. Teenagers all over the country were carried away with the app, and cases like a girl being bullied because of a Secret post saying she slept with someone at school, or a boy who tried to commit suicide because of a rumor about him which started at the app, were all over the media.
"Secret is based on Facebook friends, so when I upload a post my Facebook friends are the ones reading it, even if they don't know which of their friends wrote it. It is much easier to pick on someone people know", says Tzvi Fogel, who co-founded www.zesod.co.il along with Yair Timna. Zesod is a website that can be a healthier alternative for a secret sharing platform, it is open to everyone and supervised.
"While Secret became a battle field for teenagers trying to make fun of each other and much worse, our site comes from a whole different perspective, a therapeutic one. We work with professionals who give free advice to people who write a post asking for one, if someone writes something suicidal, their post will quickly receive a professional comment", says Fogel. "Racist or offensive posts, curses or posts using real names are taken off our website. It is important to us that people will feel safe to anonymously share their secrets and still feel secure", says Fogel.
People will always want to share, and that can be a good thing, if only done right. As Fogel puts it: "Just as we can choose who to be friends with, we should choose the right environment for ourselves, and that includes the apps and websites we spend time in".
Merkaz Leinternet Batuach