By: Adam Earnheardt, Ph.D.
Mutter Mail is a text-based messaging platform for one-on-one communication.
Created by 17-year-old Nick Pitoniak, Mutter Mail is a new messaging app on a growing list of private communication platforms.
The fact that a teenager created this app shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, teens like their privacy.
According to the iTunes app store description, Mutter Mail is “an anonymous self-destructing messaging platform. Unlike other messaging services … Mutter Mail completely destroys all traces of the message once it is deleted 60 seconds after being read.”
When it comes to social media, several apps provide teens with confidential communication channels, far from their parents’ prying eyes.
Snapchat, AskFM, Kik Messenger, Whisper and other platforms afford teens some private space. But these apps open up users to safety issues and cyberbullying. There’s huge potential for revealing too much private content for a public audience.
Mutter Mail is very different from these apps, and more similar to another texting app, Burn Note.
Like Mutter Mail, Burn Note can erase messages after a few seconds (i.e., “burn”), and it’s text-only – no options for users to share pictures or video.
Christine Elgersma, senior editor for apps and digital learning at Common Sense Media, noted that Burn Note’s display system exposes only one word at a time, and that might make it feel more secretive than other messaging apps.
In a post about favorite messaging apps for teens, Elgersma’s wrote: “Kids may feel tempted to reveal more than they would otherwise, since Burn Note’s developers claim it deletes every copy of the message.”
You can follow Elgersma on Twitter at @Chrissy4Kids.
An app with these features is very attractive to teens determined to communicate with others without mom and dad peeping over their shoulders.
When you open Mutter Mail, you might be surprised by the simplicity of the design. It resembles a page from a college-ruled notebook. Part of its beauty is in this basic design.
With image messaging apps such as Snapchat, the expectation is that the message will vanish from the receiver’s device within a short period of time (e.g., a few seconds) after the image is viewed.
One complaint users level against Snapchat is the ability for recipients to capture screenshots of messages before they disappear.
Mutter Mail solved that problem. If a chat partner screenshots a message, the sender receives an alert.
According to the Mutter Mail description, this gives the user some peace of mind to say whatever they want without the possibility of their message coming back to haunt them. Users can encrypt their messages to ensure that only the intended recipients get the private messages.
Pitoniak’s description of the app adds that “all messages and user information is passed through multiple layers of state-of-the-art encryption algorithms to ensure privacy and security.”
Mutter Mail is currently available only for Apple devices.
Dr. Adam Earnheardt is chairman of the department of communication at Youngstown State University. Read his blog at adamearn.com and follow him on Twitter at @adamearn.
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