Anonymous Social Networks + Millennials

eka McQuade explores the increasing call for anonymous social networks and what it means for a much-maligned generation. Image: Katie Spence.

I recently came across an article on Mashable about new social networks worth checking out. What struck me most was the number of apps and networks which centred around the theme of anonymity.

From Secret and Whisper, which allow you to anonymously share your thoughts, feelings and ask questions, to the dating app Tinder (okay, hardly new) which lets you review profiles without others knowing – unless of course you swipe right – it seems as though keeping your identity hidden is increasingly popular. But why the sudden fear of people knowing who we are and what we think?

At Amplify, we work with a lot of brands that aspire to engage with young people, and although it can be dangerous to generalise, this audience is often loosely termed ‘millennials.'

Millennials are a social generation who are more prone to broadcasting than developing genuine relationships. This is caused by attributing success to confidence, rather than hard work, and can lead to a strong fear of rejection and criticism.

Within this context, it’s natural that we’re seeing an increasing number of social networks that allow millennials to express their views anonymously, without fear of being challenged personally.

An interesting point to consider is whether this is because they are being created by millennials who crave a level of – previously uncatered for – anonymous interaction, or because they are being created for millennials and are cynically perpetuating negative traits as a shortcut to deep physiological appeal. Either way, it’s worth remembering that every generation rebels against the previous one to some degree. Only time will tell if this is the start of an increasing trend or whether giving this generation too much of what it wants (or what people think it wants) will lead to a backlash.