Claremont Crushes' Anonymous Messaging App, Explained
Whitney Wachtel | Nov. 10, 2017, 3:05 p.m.
A couple weeks ago, I gave you the scoop on Claremont Crushes – now I’m back with an update on their newest endeavor. Enter the new social media messaging app: Mirale.
Described by the person behind Claremont Crushes “to make novel connections within your social network using symmetrical and asymmetrical communication,” Mirale enables people to interact in a direct two-way relationship.
The Claremont Crushes’ Facebook page operates within a symmetrical framework, meaning people who submit confessions are only anonymous in the original post to the public page, but are unable to hide their identity if they decide to reach out to the person of interest. Mirale is an attempt to solve this issue. Users can reach out to others users directly without revealing who they are.
The app’s development started in the summer of 2016, when the creators worked on the Mirale’s functionality and its relation to both user interface and experience. The actual coding and integration into the signal protocol began in the beginning of 2017, culminating with its official release on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
The new app is not designed to replace the Facebook page. The page’s facilitator assumed that the public page “will still be the place to be for wholesome content and posts that are meant to be publicly shared, while Mirale would be more ideal if you have a genuine crush and want to initiate a conversation, or if you just have something more personal to say.”
Even though a main feature of the app is its anonymity, individuals must have at least five friends before they are able to unlock this component. Claremont Crushes explained that this stipulation is designed to “avoid revealing [one’s] identity through triangulation,” as people can only be contacted through their friends and friends of friends.
With the exception of liked messages, all conversations are automatically supposed to disappear. Instead of opening a message, and then going back to open a new one, all you need to do is tap the profile pic of the message you’d like to read. If you want to reply, simply tap the message to open message screen.
Within the first three days of its release, approximately one percent of the 5C student population had downloaded Mirale, Claremont Crushes said. Because there was originally a 32-person-anonymity requirement when the app first launched, users experienced difficulty unlocking the anonymity component. Without the app’s key feature to message other people anonymously, people could only send symmetrical messages, somewhat defeating the purpose. Through students’ feedback, the people behind the app changed the requirement from 32 to five people.
Intrigued by this concept, I decided to download it and give it a try. After creating a username, uploading a photo, sending a request to connect with five friends, and getting used to the app, I was finally able to unlock the anonymity feature. While I experienced technological difficulties throughout the messaging process, I found the “FAQ” portion of the website to be incredibly helpful with understanding the app’s unique symbols.
Even though I found it novel to message people without revealing my identity, I found myself questioning one's motivation to use the feature. When I asked the creators, they left it open for interpretation: “I don’t really have a preconceived notion as to how the app should be used or what it’s intended purpose should be – that’s up to you! For me, it’s about pushing the boundaries of human interaction and creating something that hasn’t been done before,” Claremont Crushes wrote in a message to TSL.
While the creators continue to improve the app’s current functions, they also encouraged users to keep an eye out for new features. Though I may have experienced obstacles using Mirale, it is undeniably cool that a student has created this type of interaction app in hopes of human connection, especially as it evolves.