College campuses are known for being gossipy, but the folks working on Capitol Hill may be guilty of the same behaviour, at least according to a new app.
Cloakroom is a new anonymous sharing app à la Yik Yak. It lets anyone whose GPS is within Capital Hill or has @senate.gov and @house.gov emails post whatever they like.
And people in the Washington DC scene have already begun sharing juicy content, IJReview reports.
The app first launched a little under month ago, and according to its blog, is meant to provide “a place where congressional insiders can slip away from the blind, hungry galore of cameras and speak openly and off the record.”
Cloakroom is available to download on iOS and says it does not store any information such as email address, location, or any other user stats.
Users who download the app can sign up by showing their location or submitting their email addresses. They can then choose “aliases,” which can post juicy gossip to Cloakroom’s news feed.
Ted Henderson, Cloakroom’s creator who chatted with me over Gchat, said he wants to “open new lines of communications between political insiders.” He added, “the fact is people on the hill don’t talk, especially across ideological divides.”
His app is part of his bigger company called Capitol Bells, which is a platform to connect politicians with issues and constituents. The company raised a small round of funding last year.
Cloakroom, though, may become the bread winner for Henderson. He told Business Insider that, without any marketing as well as a very restrictive geofence, the app has already amassed over 1,000 downloads.
Additionally, scintillating conversations have begun. One user, using the alias “biparticurious,” wrote, “Why are women in R offices hotter than the D’s?” Someone else asked for a definition of the word “skintern.” And many others post topical and/or raunchy jokes about current political events.
Cloakroom’s most obvious competitors are other anonymous sharing apps like Yik Yak and Secret. While both apps did see initial success, they have been called out for spreading lies and bullying.
Cloakroom could be headed in that direction, although politicos may have thicker skin than the average college freshman. Henderson, however, doesn’t think it will go in that direction.
What makes Cloakroom users different is that Washington is already a small place. This means they will want to “take ownership” of the content they post. Henderson, in fact, has high hopes for the app; he believes it could make for a better bipartisan dialogue.
“It may sound silly that you can achieve that through low brow humour and snarky comments, but community has to begin somewhere,” he wrote.