I recently launched a new side project called BloomUp. It’s a simple service which allows you to start a gratitude journal. Users who sign up to BloomUp receive an email every day at a time which they can specify themselves and the email always asks ‘What are you grateful for today?’. To actually use the service they simply reply to this email by answering the question and the answer gets saved to their private profile.
Using email allowed me to instantly make this service work on all devices, from smartphones to desktop computers. Lately there have been reports that smartphones users are hardly downloading any new apps and that makes me feel even better about this decision.
Now that the project is out I’ve been thinking of ways to attract users. A few days ago I got this idea that perhaps I should start filming myself answering the question every day and post the clips to Instagram. Doing something scary and also being an example to others sounded like a great idea to me at first. A few of my friends also agreed that it was a good idea and that I should pursue it.
WIth my own enthusiasm high and encouragement from friends I thought this was going to be awesome. I found my secret marketing angle. However, I quickly proved myself wrong.
This was the first time I was using Instagram and it quickly dawned upon me that this might be the most toxic social network I’ve ever seen. For a while now I’ve been kind of disgusted of the direction that the internet has been going towards. Closed ecosystems, clickbaits and the never ending lust for instant gratification.
After three days into my Instagram experiment I’m saying screw this. Too often likes and follows seem to be made with just the hope that you’ll follow them back and also much of the content is clearly made just to get attention. Despite all that I still started to notice my impulsive eagerness to go and check in case I got any more likes or follows. In social media almost everyone tries to portray a certain image of themselves but I think Instagram takes this fakeness to the next level. A level which I simply cannot stand.
Regardless I still feel a bit conflicted about this because on one hand I know I should be where people’s attention and eyeballs are but on the other hand I kind of hate the “social media game”. On top of this being a video personality is probably not one of strengths neither. Although I do also realise I’m making a judgement regarding that rather quickly.
When it comes to practising gratitude one shouldn’t feel any pressure about the practice itself and this video experiment quickly started to feel like that to me. So to go against my own advice just to seek attention didn’t really make any sense to me.
Besides this Instagram experiment I’ve also tried something more traditional which is commenting on other people’s blogs. So far this experience has been the polar opposite to Instagram and I’ve had some genuinely nice short conversations with people. This approach may be slower and less effective than the social media rat race but at the moment it feels like the right fit for me.