A Happier alternative to Facebook
FACEBOOK and Twitter are all-purpose social networks. People can post anything on them, from saccharine sweet nothings to snarky one-liners.
But what if you wanted a place to just celebrate and share the small moments of happiness in life? Happier, a Boston start-up, has created a niche social network aimed at exactly that.
Think of it like one of those radio stations that feature "love songs, nothing but love songs".
Happier is meant to be a place for photos and status updates about things that make its users happy - pulling off a headstand in yoga class, say, or seeing a butterfly.
No happy moment is too small, and no negativity is allowed. It's less wacky than it sounds.
Ms Nataly Kogan, the co-founder and chief executive of the company, said that Happier was trying to build a social network with a single trigger that would get people to post to it: a positive life experience that they wanted to share.
While you can do that on Facebook or Twitter or on photo-sharing sites like Instagram, she argued that those sites are so broad that users feel like they have to make an impression with each item. The small moments of joy can seem too trivial to post.
"On Facebook, God forbid I post a comment that I took five minutes to have a cup of coffee," she said in an interview. "You post the best latte in your life on Facebook."
Happier has been operating in earnest since February, when its iPhone app came out. It is also available through the Web, but no Android version is planned anytime soon.
Ms Kogan, a tech and finance executive, said that, so far, a million happy moments have been posted to the site by more than 100,000 people.
Her target audience, she said, is not trendsetters, but women in Middle America aged 18 to 35. "Regular people," she said, comparing her audience to avid fans of Pinterest and Martha Stewart.
Initially, Happier was set up for users to share posts with only friends, but Ms Kogan said that when the company allowed people to share their posts with everyone, use shot up.
"Seeing what makes other people happier is as valuable, or maybe more valuable" than sharing your own happiness, she said.
So a new version of the iPhone app due next Thursday will make all posts public by default, although users can still choose to restrict access.
Ultimately, Happier hopes to make money by selling products that celebrate happiness.
The start-up has attracted US$2.4 million (S$3 million) in seed funding.