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Whisper: The Social Media Train Wreck

It was one of those things that you stumble across, while reading stuff on the internet. A website that would let you reveal your deepest, darkest secrets in complete anonymity. A sort of on-line confessional for those who just had to unburden themselves. Well, that was intriguing. And, if nothing else, I’m kind of a curious guy. So, I opened my apps, and signed on to Whisper, and thereby discovered the open sore, of cyberspace.

Some of the posts were moral dilemmas tinged in melancholy. ” I had to quit my job today, because I’m secretly in love with my boss. I’m married.”

Some were oddly ironic. ” I’m a Brony and I don’t care who knows.” ( Really? Then why are you posting this anonymously, on a website committed to secrecy?)

And some were down-right bizzare. ” I love the taste of ear wax.”

But as time went on, the nature of the beast began to change. It became a centrifuge of devolution spinning down to waspish critiques of fellow posters, whiny pre-teen angst, and shameless pandering for attention. Things like: ” I have a crush on my ex bestfriend’s boyfriend.”  or, ” I think I like girls but I’m not sure. I know I like boys though.”  or, ’10 pushups for every heart, 20 crunches for every comment.(Trying to get in shape here.)” Political comments are common; ” If you vote for Hillary, your an idiot.” ( misspelling intentional ) You get the idea.

At times it seems like a mashup of Tinder, Kik, Snapchat, Instagram and 4-Chan, all at once.

And yet ….

There is something awful, and addictive about Whisper. I’m not sure exactly what that might be, but my best guess is this: Negative affirmation. It’s easy to feel good about yourself, when there are so many people living lives that are clearly more screwed up than your own.

You can shake your wryly when someone posts: ” Marriage is 50% you take my breath away, and 50% I want to make you take your last breath.”

Scowl at the endless, and shameless requests for dope, nude pics, and hookups.

Feel righteous anger in something like: ” I make guys pay for everything. Why should I spend my own money?” , Or ” I like to seduce chicks and then dump them right away. I get off on crushing their dreams.”

Or roll your eyes at: “My boyfriend wants me to quit a job that I love and move to his city. He’s unemployed. Should I ? ”

And sometimes you may even find something that makes you laugh out loud: ” Gay people be like: Of course I dress well. I didn’t spend all that time in the closet for nothing!”

But more than anything else, Whisper is often a marketplace for the anguished, and unloved. There are dozens of posts about loneliness, cutting, suicide, abuse, shame and heartache.

Loved ones who have died and who are deeply missed, and every day struggles to survive: ” I work at Subway … I get tuna subs even tho I hate them just to feed them to my cat and I go without cause I can’t afford to buy food.”

It’s a sprawling, brawling slice of life, from angles you may never have seen, filled with bad grammar, swearing, poor spelling, naivety, and sometimes hatred and anger. It’s exasperating, annoying, infuriating and sometimes down-right unbelievable. It’s populated by heroes, villains, would-be kings and princesses, dopers, n’er-do-wells, braggarts, and champions of what is right, and good. In other words, it’s a lot like real life, stuffed into neat little boxes of text. Whisper has drawn me in, to a love-hate relationship that I want to end, but somehow just can’t.

It’s like seeing the train wreck coming down the track, and not being able to look away.


I'm a veteran broadcast journalist, producer, writer, and talk show gadabout. I like to play bad hockey, drink good beer, take sporadic rides on my bicycle and generally annoy my family with Dad jokes and selective memory. ( Lois the dog, excepted. )

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