☆ On ‘Secret’ In Journalism

A few recent events have me thinking: could Secret be the next big thing?

It’s easy to toss out the moniker ‘the next big thing’ without backing it up, but I’m going to reach for justification.

Before I do, let me look at how something becomes the next big thing. In this space, comparable examples could be Instagram and Snapchat. Looking at the big picture, both those services escalated in popularity because they did one thing well, they did it cool and they did it different.

With Secret – they have a solid application, a solid premise and the trust of their users. What they do, they do it well.

Secret is also pretty cool. I mean, how awesome is it to invite all your friends to a service which allows you to swap secrets without knowing who they belong to. Cool, right?

To define how they are different, we have to look at what came before them. Post Secret (as many of you are familiar with) allowed people to mail secrets on a postcard to an author, who then published them in the book anonymously.

Now enter Secret. The premise is much the same (if I’m painting with broad strokes). Just like Post Secret, users can anonymously submit a secret, displayed only with their city and an image of their choosing. Users can invite friends, and be automatically notified when they share a secret (even though they won’t know which friend it came from).

Most would expect that Secret would be a ground for hateful remarks, stories of deceit – and for the most part, they are right. But a new trend has been forming recently, and it’s interesting to me.

Today Vic Gundotra – who led the creation of Google+ – quit Google. What most people don’t know, is that news of this first broke on Secret a few days ago.

Did he post it himself? Who knows.

It’s intriguing a story as impactful as this was posted first on Secret. If the secret wasn’t from Vic Gundotra, one has to wonder how many new outlets this tip was shopped to.

It fits into a new paradigm in today’s tech journalism, the act of reporting on one anonymous source. With the ease of sharing secrets, will Secret be the one anonymous source that new outlets use to break future stories?

It’s hard to say what the future will hold for Secret and whether it will be the next big thing. One thing is for sure: Secret has garnered a lot of attention in a short amount of time – and that’s grounds for an acquisition.