Saturday, November 22, 2014

Super is super.

So I was browsing through my news feed, ever so casually, when I noticed a trend. A few outlets had posted this weird black and white picture of Bill Murray with old-school 3D glasses pasted on. I decided to actually read the headers for these posts and I found out that yet another new social network was upon us! NOOOOOOOOO!

Under normal circumstances I would have scoffed at it... but these are tough times. You see, I am currently unemployed, which means I only interact with my immediate family. I thirst for human interaction so badly that I re-activated my Facebook! So I bit. I read a little about it and downloaded the app. I set it up and started posting nonsense immediately.

After playing with it for a while, I realized even though that my knee-jerk instinct would have been to uninstall the application and go on with my life, I was having fun, even laughing out loud! It's brilliant, actually.

First, let me lay down some basics:

Super does not feature complex social structures like Facebook or Google+, instead you just follow people, a lot like on Twitter.

Your posts are always public, but unless someone is actually following you the post will probably drown in a bottomless pool of noise within seconds. You can't share or retweet other peoples' posts, and you can always just delete your posts. This makes it all feel a bit ethereal, the main appeal behind Snapchat.

You can make posts semi-anonymously (ANONYMISH is the exact term), where those who follow you will see it but your name won't be there. It's a lot like whisper, but people can still find out who you are. The Super FAQ stresses this is meant to be playful.

OK, now let me cover the details. Every Super post is composed of 6 key elements (7 if you count your identity):

A super starter, or prompt, the little header-like bit on top of the post. You choose one from a list that rotates occasionally. Things such as THE BEST, MY FAVORITE or THE SEXIEST. You are expected to continue the sentence. I think it's brilliant because these starters always set the post up with a positive, fun foundation. It also makes it hard to treat it like you would other social networks.

The body text, where you finish your thought. They have limited character space, but it's usually enough. The text is always uppercase, but if you're an uppercase hater like me, it's actually quite refreshing because since everything is uppercase and posts are always squared, nobody feels like they're using larger characters to invade your screen. Also, it's a font that looks nice in uppercase. Brilliant! It's also pretty interesting that this field is optional.

A background image. The app runs a quick image search based on your body text, and the results are usually dead-on or hilarious. If you think none of the images offered are a good match, or if you're aiming for something more specific, you can refine your search, upload an image, take a picture with your camera, or choose from some a gallery of colorful works of art. Now, people posting images with a black background and white text (or vice-versa) on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ is my greatest pet peeve, but again, Super makes it work by making it intentional! Again, it no longer feels like someone is using a large image to invade your screen only to share a short blurb of text. It boggles the mind how brilliant the concept is!

A signature. Your posts are always attached to your name (unless anonymish), so you don't really have to sign them. Yet, you are asked to. And if you sign with your name, you're not getting the joke. Most people use this last bit of text at the bottom of the image to credit the post to a generalized group (hipsters, kids nowadays, no one ever), a fictional character, or blatantly lay responsibility on someone else. Some others use it as a punch line, much like Twitter users will use hashtags for punchlines. It's truly amazing how clever this is. I think on a previous version signatures actually worked as hashtags, linking similar posts togther, but the function was removed.

An optional link so you don't litter your precious post with an ugly URL!

An optional location so you can post things like THE BEST BURGER JOINT. And use the application like some kind of Foursquare. You can also search for nearby posts.

Oddly enough, the only part of this that is truly optional (besides location, link and your identity) is the body text! You HAVE to choose a header (or stick to the default chosen, usually "THE BEST") and signature and force you to be creative, and take a minute to rearrange your thoughts, as opposed to just blurting out whatever is on your mind. The result, I think, is many users realizing their post is not fun at all and deleting it before uploading it. You, the reader, get only the good stuff.

These limitations make it nearly impossible for wannabe marketers, corporations, or spammers to advertise their wares. The fact that is has terrible SEO means people joining the network is word-of-mouth type deal.


Really, now, give it a try. It's fun! First, try browsing through the EVERYONE feed to get a glimpse of how fun the community is. Then, think of a few fun things to share and watch as the community gives you loves (likes) and feedback. Swipe left on your posts to share them on other social networks.

Link your phone number, Facebook and Twitter to it and enable notifications so you get notified as soon as anyone you know joins, because it may be a while before anyone you know joins.

Oh, and be sure to follow me, look for 201d!