Whisper makes big noise on campus

By Anne Halliwell | News Writer

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Social media sites that intentionally limit communication between its users are seemingly counterintuitive.

But one site allows users to communicate without profiles like that of Facebook and Twitter.

Whisper, a social media site, allows users to share content in the form of pictures with text overlay, and without user profiles.

Users may reply to others’ whispers or choose to pay for messaging privileges, but there is no search function or way to contact users outside of the site or application.

Users are asked to enter their current zip code when they post, which serves to localize their content.

According to Whisper’s website, the site was created as a way to allow users to share authentic feelings and opinions without worrying about managing their reputations over the Internet.

The anonymity of the posts is intended to make users feel more comfortable about revealing things that they ordinarily would not share over the internet.

UK’s Facebook page for Whisper has more than 550 likes and Facebook’s “app center” reports 10,000 users.

The mobile application has been downloaded more than 500,000 times from the Google Play Store and the iTunes users rate the app at an average of four stars out of five.

Whisper’s UK campus representative and senior Integrated Strategic Communication (ISC) major Lindsay Osterhus said the location aspect of Whisper makes it unique and interesting.

“The thing about Whisper is that anyone can just open it up or go to Facebook and see a post that could be from the person next to you… it’s interesting because you don’t know who it is, and it could be anyone around you,” Osterhus said.

She said Whisper has created pages for all college campuses. UK’s Facebook page compiles the whispers of UK students and caters to their interests.

Osterhus said that the posts on the Facebook page generally concern things like classes, relationships and body image.

Your Voice, a non-profit project sponsored by Whisper, will also be coming to UK’s campus soon.

According to Your Voice’s website, the project is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health on college campuses, and providing resources for students who struggle with issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, stress management and sexuality.

“Your Voice deals with issues that go on with college students,” Osterhus said. “It promotes issues that are represented on Whisper, that people would post about anonymously.”

Via www.your-voice.org, students can connect to organizations that provide support and outreach opportunities for issues ranging from mental illness to suicide prevention.

Osterhus says that the goal of bringing Your Voice to UK is to reduce the negative stigma associated with issues like depression and mental illness and to let students know that they are not alone in their struggle.