Giving Winks

There is a minefield ahead.

I don’t know the exact solution, because so many other similar pieces of technology have existed to create more harm than good. But I would like to make something to help make people feel good about themselves. I know I feel good about myself when someone gives me a wink.

To be honest. I can’t even tell you the last time someone gave me a wink. Actually, I am unable to think of a single specific moment in time when a human winked their eye at me. But, I have seen countless movies and TV shows where it happens and I want to be on the receiving end.

In my head, I like to imagine that it is socially acceptable for me to be on the running trails and be able to give a wink to someone and make them feel special and not make them assume that I’m some creep. I mean I’m an oddball, but I’m not a creep.

You could compare winking to cat-calling and that’s why I don’t do it. I wave to most other runners if they make eye-contact but that’s just basic human decency. I want to be able to tell people that even though I am a happily married man that I appreciate their appearance. Or even just that I appreciated something they did like slowing down to let someone pass or wearing a mask.

Is this weird? Am I weird?

I want people to feel good about themselves without making a big deal about it.

The Pitch

Anonymous software that allows one person to alert another person that they appreciate them.

You’re Weird. And This is A Terrible Idea.

We’ll continue on like this is something that people actually want or is beneficial to society.

Ok, I can’t even do that and I’m the author.

Just because something is only positive reinforcement doesn’t mean it’s good. Not just because it’s unbalanced, but because if people aren’t getting a wink then they will see it as a negative. People post on Facebook because they want to get likes and if they don’t get likes, they get sad.

Also, this could just turn into a popularity contest and society just dresses more and more provocatively until people are just running naked.

When you create something, you’re responsible for its entire existence. I can’t just naively say, I had no idea what effect this would have. There are books and documentaries about the negative effects of social media. I want to try to correct that, but how?

How Would It Even Work?

We’ll keep pretending and I have fixed the emotional consequences of the app, how would it actually work?

It could work very similarly to how contact tracing works now. Apps on people’s phones would be able to detect when they were near other people via Bluetooth. Of course, this wouldn’t work well in a crowded environment, but if you accidentally gave the wink to the wrong person it wouldn’t be the end of the world. To actually trigger the “wink” is a little more complicated as you don’t want to have to bust out your phone every time you want to give someone a wink.

Smartwatches would be the current implementation until Google Glass comes back, like I so desperately want. Ideally, it would work as simple as double-tapping the app would send a wink to the person closest to you. I mean you wouldn’t even really need to have to access anything in the app. You would also get notifications when you get a wink.

Maybe it’s simplicity and lack of public interface would help people not falling into the same traps as other social tools. Only you know what winks you get or not, you don’t know how many your friends or getting or whether certain people are giving them to you or not. You are just occasionally reminded that society sees you and appreciates you.

No subscriptions, no ads. Just a one-time payment when you buy the app, like the good old days. I’m not trying to get rich, I’m trying to make people feel better.

And that’s ok.

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