Mimi: What are your friends like when they’re anonymous?

Chinese app “Mimi” mixes social networks together with the anonymous social network model, allowing users to anonymously share secrets with their friends on WeChat. Similar to the popular apps Secret and Whisper – the more likes and shares a user gets, the more people are able to view the secret.

Secrets with thousands of likes basically become public – however, only friends of the user are able to comment or interact with the original poster of the secret. Mimi basically allows users to post secrets anonymously, and yet gain advice from people they know without revealing either parties’ identity.

CEO Li Chengren was originally inspired by the popular Secret app, and decided to work on a similar project, hence producing Mimi within a month.

Registration at Mimi requires a phone number, following which the app will access your WeChat contact list to determine which other contacts are also using Mimi, hence allowing you to view their secrets and vice versa. A minimum of three friends are required to be on the platform before you can view any of their secrets – a bid to encourage users to share the app with their friends and encourage user growth.


Mimi’s user interface

The interface of Mimi is simple, with infinite scrolling to view the feed of secrets published. Each secret posted can be accompanied with a background photo if desired. To allow secrets to remain anonymous, the order of published secrets are scrambled, and “profile pictures” are randomly assigned to users, changing with every comment posted by the same user.

While Mimi certainly has a fascinating premise – it also begs the question: How does Mimi plan to monetize? Currently Mimi is a free app, and it would be interesting to see how user information becomes shared (or used) in the future. Some form of data mining, perhaps?

Naturally, since information can be shared freely, there are also concerns that untruths can be posted on such apps – rumours of acquisitions, or false accusations, for example. To combat such issues, Mimi currently has a policy where it would clamp down on rumours, pornographic or libelous content. Yet another issue raised is that of cyberbullying, which becomes ‘easy’ because of the anonymity surrounding users.

Zen is a tech journalist with a fondness for tech gadgets and pandas. She is also a full-time grad student studying business journalism at Tsinghua University, and often spends much time dreaming about...

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