It’s getting pretty dark out there in social land

Dark Social, that is. Just this week there’s been a brand new social network emerge that proves that there is opportunity for niche platforms to pick up significant market share, but what’s more important is what it signals about the way that we’re now using social media.

The app is called TBH, and it’s making it possible to have an anonymous social network that doesn’t instantly turn into a ring of cyber bullying. Instead, TBH allows its users to log on and answer a few fun and complimentary questions about their friends like: “Who has the best smile?” or “Still going to keep in touch in 10 years”. When the user selects one friend from the four options that the app serves up, that friend gets a notification that she/he’s been picked, but not who did the picking.

In that way, TBH allows people to learn a bit about themselves, and have a bit of fun tagging each other in Q&As with anonymity and no fear bullying.

The real news is the bananas user acquisition rate. It launched just last month, and here are a few of the highlights already:

Here’s the (even) bigger picture

Yes, we’re primarily talking about high schoolers here, but they were the first to adopt Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Really, the only major social channels that teens didn’t pioneer were Linkedin, Twitter and Google+ (which group would you rather own shares in right now?). More importantly, 2 million users are shouting pretty clearly that they like to interact with friends in private, and that isn’t being fully satisfied by the suite of messaging apps that are currently out there.

Even more clearly, they’re telling us that the rise of Dark Social (aka. social sharing in private: Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram DMs, etc) is still growing and will continue to grow, especially with the next generation.

So what?

Dark Social means Dark Sharing, and potentially, increased Dark Reach, but we won’t be able to measure any of it. What we need to be doing is building our content so that our fans & followers can’t wait to shoot it over to their friends, which also means that we’ll have to get creative in the way that we measure success, because public likes and comments are only going to continue to decline.

The fact that more content is being share by more people is great for us, but not for our vanity metrics.