Amidst the carnage and bloodshed of anonymous social media, app Berri steps in with a white flag in hand.
Apps like Whisper and Secret have taken heat lately from both investors and parents questioning the service from an ethical standpoint. However, realizing the enduring demand for these services, a new social app named Berri has found a way to fix anonymous social’s greatest drawback.
In a move that seems like common sense, Berri has differentiated itself from competitors by strictly limiting a user’s postings to Facebook friends. In this way, it’s essentially an extension of a Facebook status without the elitism and social pressure that deters so many Facebook status updates.
Berri’s claim is that it offers a workaround to a serious and growing issue. Anonymous social media is a little like The Purge — nothing is off limits, and everyone is free game. Users churn out sensationalized posts and hack away at each other through the security anonymity. The service is definitely not appropriate for those with thin skin — which, to be honest, is every teenager ever.
A review of Whisper in the App Store put it well, “For those who have suffered from depression, I implore you not to get this app.”
Unfortunately, the problem with anonymity doesn’t stop there. Whisper and Secret have begun to develop a sort of Craigslist “casual encounters” element. According to a female reviewer in the App Store, after her first post on Whisper, her inbox was immediately flooded with men asking for her “A/S/L.” The solution to these problems is obvious. Simply restrict a user’s interactions and make their posts private.
Now, despite the apps advantages, Berri has a long road ahead of it. A common complaint with Whisper and Secret is that not enough users are actually using the app, and Berri wants to limit a user’s interactions even more.
In reality, if you only have five Facebook friends using Berri, it’s going to be painfully obvious who is behind each post. Before that app can be used as intended, Berri’s users will need to reach a threshold at which anonymity outweighs predictability. Depending on the user, that could be five or it could be fifty friends.
Another issue Berri will have to address is Facebook’s declining popularity with teens. The means of limiting an anonymous social circle shouldn’t be limited to Facebook. With the popularity of Kik and SnapChat, maybe future updates of Berri will allow users to connect to social messaging apps, or even just plain old cellular contacts.