When I was in high school, I often communicated with my friends using AOL Instant Messenger. One of my favorite features was the ability for someone to leave a status message that would show up next to their screen name in the buddy list. When someone said something interesting, or had a witty thought, my friends and I would call it “iChat-worthy.” I kept a text file with a list of my iChat-worthy updates.
There was something interesting about the ability to set a “this sentence defines me right now” message that would be broadcasted to people who wanted to know. I remember getting a weird feeling that something was there, that the feature was important, but I could never complete the thought. I even made a mockup of a site that would store the messages for you, but it seemed useless at the time.
A few years later, Twitter was born.
A private network
A couple years ago, some friends of mine started working on a photo sharing app for the iPhone. During the beta period, the app was simple; it barely had comments, but everyone in the beta test knew each other extremely well. It accidentally became a private social network between friends that just happened to be powered by photos.
I got a weird feeling that something magical was there. There was something awesome about having a private network amongst close friends who had absolute trust in the security of the system. It was less like a social network and more like a translation of real world friend group interaction onto mobile devices.
A while later, Path was born.
Recently, I’ve had a couple similar weird feelings while using Highlight and Glassmap.