I remember a time in high school when I refused to hop on the “social media bandwagon” by not signing up for a Facebook account, even though I knew it was the de facto standard for being “cool”, right next to engaging in the artful act of making a child.
Even though I was aware of the social construct around me, I still decided to walk the road less travelled by shooting down all friendly conversations that led to idea of me owning a Facebook account by discrediting it as just another fad, simply because I was way too “cool” (read: awkward) for it.
Needless to say my cool (again, read: awkward) ways soon came to an abrupt halt when I eventually created a Facebook account weeks later, and in came the friend requests from people who wouldn’t even talk to me in public (I wouldn’t have spoken to them either).
The fact of the matter was that the age of social media had arrived and it was here to stay. That however didn’t stop me from being socially awkward—I mean, cool.
Thanks to social media, over the years, I’ve accrued numerous “friends” that I truly “care” for and “connect” with deeply—in fact, it’s so deep, it’s borderline strange.
And in order to accommodate my Christ-like love for mankind, their thought-provoking status updates and their artistically cropped and filtered selfies, I’ve had to create accounts on multiple social media platforms just to keep up.
“What’s on your
Frankly, seldom do I answer any of these questions honestly because my thoughts are either way too boring or way too explicit to be spoken about on mainstream social media. I would never talk about my InPrivate browsing exploits (not that I’ve any) on Facebook when my friends list consists of my parents, religious mentors, and employers—all three are equally dangerous.
To escape this predicament, I began toying with the idea of a digital world that’s based on anonymity—a world where I wouldn’t be judged for saying what’s truly on my mind and describing what’s really happening around me.
And so I began my quest for anonymity on a range of different platforms like Vent, and I even toyed with the idea of surfing the corners of the darknet. Needless to say that Vent soon turned out to be an angrier and a more depressing Twitter knock-off and the darknet, well, was way too dark for my preference and no, I’m not talking about race.
Eventually I began reading random confessions and confession-based listicles on Whisper and honestly, they were both hilarious and dark enough to win over my curiosity, and so I decided to give Whisper a shot.
While it isn’t entirely new, Whisper is essentially an anonymous social network (available on both iOS and Android) where you can freely express yourself and discover the unseen world around you. It’s a place where people post all kinds of confessions that you could reply to and chat with anonymously. In fact to help you to remain anonymous, the app even auto generates a username for you as soon as you join the network.
When I first joined Whisper I was really drawn to the fact that people were open enough to share their deep and inner thoughts, even though many of them were just cries from desperate guys trying to get laid.
Aside from such sexually deprived posts, many are genuine enough to talk about their issues openly, regardless of how daunting or personal it might be. People who confess their innermost thoughts or private issues choose to be vulnerable and it’s up to the rest of the community to either build or break that individual.
Granted that there will always be characters that would opt to hurt and bully the other person (you can simply block them if you’re being bullied), based on my experience most of them choose to be encouraging.
In fact, moments after posting my first confession about how I dislike attending church, I received encouraging and enlightening responses both in the form of comments and messages. The ones that messaged me were open enough to talk about their own experiences and shared their own perspective regarding the matter, which I felt was a much better alternative than being judged.
Since my first post, I’ve posted numerous things about my family, work, relationships, faith and all the things you will never find out about (hopefully).
I also spend a significant amount of time chatting with strangers from different walks of life about topics that range in varying degrees of explicitness. However, my relationships with these anonymous strangers often tend to be short-lived and at times, it only lasts for the length of that particular conversation.
I feel it’s better that way – there’s no point in getting too close to a “stranger” – it destroys the mystique and it will just dampen the entire experience.
Whisper After Dark
When I was chatting with a person named Anonymous (I’m not making this up), he/she mentioned that people on whisper tend to like, comment and chat with people that only post something “dirty” and they often ignore ones that don’t. I disagreed.
Since I disagreed, I was challenged to post something posing as a “female” on Whisper so that I could determine for myself whether the theory was true. With the curiosity of a budding scientist, I thought hard about all the various things a female would confess about (menstrual cramps, maybe?) and I eventually settled on one.
Soon after I published my confession, my inbox literally blew up with over 40 messages within a space of 10 minutes and all of them had one thing in common—pictures of their humongous junk—and one of the messages even contained a nude frontal from a lesbian, which was the only one I was devilishly grateful for.
Given that I continued to receive messages, it was really hard for me to keep up (no pun intended) and I had to quickly delete the confession and do quite a bit of damage control so that I wouldn’t receive anymore dick pics.
Although, I intentionally put myself out there for the sake of my social experiment, I did notice that it’s a common practice for guys on Whisper to bombard you with pictures of their junk if they remotely interpret your post as being feminine, especially after 12am.
There were even instances where I would post something funny with an auto generated image of a random woman (Whisper auto generates background images) and some guys would think that I was the woman in the picture and would take that as a cue to instinctively send me images of their junk.
It was quite daunting, however, I learnt to make sure my posts are as gender neutral as possible. And some people actually enquire about your gender when they message you, if they do so, you should know that the other person is most probably a guy and if you’re a guy the conversation usually wouldn’t go any further.
Variety Is Still The Spice Of Life
Despite the shortcomings of the community, the fact of the matter is that I enjoy spending time speaking to different people on the platform. Given that you can’t identify the people that you’re talking to—unless you’ve exchanged pictures or if you actually met them in person—it gives you the freedom and the opportunity to communicate without being burdened down by the laws of being politically correct. That being said, you should behave in a civil manner or you might end up getting blocked by every odd person.
This blanket of anonymity essentially gives me the freedom to express whatever it is that I want, whether it’s something that I think is funny, personal or down right explicit. Regardless of the nature of my posts, I’ve always been able to engage with people that have had similar experiences and also with others that know how to have a good conversation.
Thanks to the app, I’ve spoken to Malaysians that practice a wide range of faiths including Wicca, and hold different worldviews like pantheism or atheism, and those that engage in all kinds of “interesting” activities. I’ve spoken to people that are gay, bisexual, and asexual, people that actively cheat on their spouses, and also those that swing. I get to frequently interact with extreme conservatives on one end and those that are extremely liberal on the other, and everyone else in between.
Frankly, whether I agree or disagree with a person’s worldviews or actions is secondary to me. What I value more is the act of empathising with another and actually trying to understand their reasons with little to no judgment—and Whisper is a great way to do both.