Go back to the beginning of any of the major social platforms, and they're full of tag lines like "staying in touch and keeping up with friends", and "share your life with friends", and "see what's going on with your friends". Whatever else they provided us, they promised to connect us more than ever before. It hasn't turned out quite like they'd hoped.
In theory, there's no reason you couldn't just connect with 10 of your closest friends, all make your profiles private, and form a closed community where you all share your thoughts. In reality, our attention is the commodity for sale, and so we're bombarded with "promoted" messages, "trending" topics, ads, and a constant fire-hose barrage of thoughts from everyone, on every topic, all the time. It's so difficult to use these tools in a healthy way that people end up doing digital detoxes - others just quit.
Maybe instead of trying to bend these tools to fit our needs, and chastising ourselves when it ultimately fails (after all, they're designed that way), we should look for more specific tools help us stay connected in a more healthy way.
Jillian Schuller and Alex Ghiculescu having been working on a product called Sundayy. In a nutshell, you sign up, share a code with some close friends and family, and write about how your day went, what you're up to - anything you want to share.
Sundayy represents spending time away from feeds, thinking deeper about our days, and sharing what matters with the people who matter.
It's designed around two rules.
- You can only write once each day. You reflect, and then you find something else to do with life. This flies in the face of current social media.
- You can only read on Sunday. No endless feeds, no million interruptions.
A big part of what hooks us on social media is the fear of missing out. There's so much, all the time, that we inevitably install the apps on our phone and scroll mindlessly whenever life presents a space to fill up. I think it sounds nice, to know I'd get the updates that are important to me, from the people I care about, when I'm ready to read them.
What's more, there's no feeds to share, no upvotes and downvote buttons, no way to even offer feedback in the app. It's all very opposite from what social media has become.
I enjoy digging into the tech stack a bit to see what's going on under the covers.
The mobile app (available in the Google and Apple stores) doesn't request any permissions. Checking out the manifest file, it doesn't seem to access anything unexpected either, other than maybe WAKE_LOCK. Even that isn't really an issue - it's for keeping a device awake, which could drain the battery a bit faster, but could be useful for preventing your reflection from getting wiped while you're staring off into space thinking of what else to write. Even if that's the reason, I'm willing to bet there's alternatives.
What's nice is you don't even have to use the mobile app. The website provides the same functionality, other than reminders I suppose, and I'd rather write a long reflection on a bigger screen anyway.
Sundayy seems to do just what it promises. I could imagine a few other features, like maybe having more than a single group, or being able to go back and edit reflections before the end of the day, but I could also imagine them wanting to be very careful about what they add back in.
For instance, the ability to edit reflections might mean constant updates throughout the day. And the ability to have multiple groups might mean someone tailoring their reflections for each of them, sharing only bits and pieces of themselves. The way they've got it now, it really encourages a person to just be themselves, to share the things that matter to them most, whatever that may be.