Could it be that we building up to a collective moment against oversharing? That social media posturing, "like"-chasing and follower-building have created a backlash and a hunger for less exposed, more targeted, and more authentic forms of connecting? Perhaps so, judging by the intense interest around apps like SnapChat, Whisper, and Avocado.
Fueling the popular disappearing-photo messaging service's surge is how it has enabled many users to overcome their reticence to share an image that won't hang around to haunt them down the road. Snapchat users take over 200 million photos and videos a day,according to its co-founder, Evan Spiegel.
The ephemeral nature of your photo and video messages on the mobile app seems an even smarter choice in the age of NSA omni-snooping (let's hope those visuals really disappear for good!) And even Facebook- or Google-level facial recognition can spot you through a slew of photos in a blink of an eye. It's a sophisticated tool that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are clearly interested in.
On this mobile app, people anonymously post their secrets, in the form of text superimposed on a picture. Whisper is structured to strip away the self-conscious posing of named online confessions and focus on more authentic connections over personal fears.
While the quickly growing app hasn't yet appeared on the public's radar in a big way, it has a big presence in investors' minds. It has just raised $21 million in Series B funding from Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Ventures and Trinity Ventures, with a valuation of $76 million.
According to Whisper, usage grew from 500 million page views in March to 2.5 billion in July. Active users open the app eight to 10 times per day, and spend a half hour with it.
Those lovey-dovey couples that you keep telling to get a room? Some are taking their PDAs and doing exactly that with Avocado, the social app that's for twosomes only. Couples can share sappy photos, messages, lists, stickers and more with their significant other only without inflicting the gag reflex on a wider audience.
Have we turned the corner on the oversharing binge? Since it scratches a deep psychological itch, I doubt we'll ever significantly curb the gusher. But I'm thankful the need for more private connections is definitely surging to the surface.