How would you feel if you had the chance to genuinely make a person feel good? You don’t know them, you’ve never met them, but your job is to offer solace and advice and hopefully make their day that little bit brighter. This is the premise of a new app called ‘Happy,’ which aims to connect lonely and distressed people to “ordinary folks with extraordinary listening skills.”
It’s being dubbed as a variation of “uber” or Hailo in our case, but instead of a transport service, it’s a platform for “happy givers.” According to Vice, Happy was created by a group of Princeton graduates from a variation of backgrounds from psychology, tech, and marketing. Founder Jeremy Fischbach explains that the idea came to him when he was going through a rough patch privately and professionally, and found all his best friends unreachable.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if you could tap a button and hear a voice,” he explained, “and for that person to give me as much time as I needed? For it to be a regular person with extraordinary abilities, who understood what I was going through? And for all of that to be anonymous, affordable?” The app is not intended to be a replacement for say, the professional treatment of depression or anxiety, but a bridge to it. The founders are looking to cater to the −1 to −5 on the emotional distress scale, the mild forms of distress, the people going through life changes, breakups, relocations—the kind of person who wants to talk, but wouldn’t feel that comfortable calling a helpline.
They are currently recruiting up to 2,000 contractors in the USA where it’s set to launch initally— 90 percent, so far, happen to be women but they don’t intend to provide them with any meaningful training, relying instead on crowdsourcing for quality control, so it’s important to note that this isn’t an app with certified professionals. “Happy givers” will train each other, sharing the strategies they pick up through a forum in the app, creating a specialised micro-community. (They will also be tasked with supporting one another, in times of need.)
It’s an interesting concept and though the premise of talking to strangers about the bad day we’ve had may sound odd initially, isn’t that what we do (for the most part) on social media every day?
The app is currently about to launch in the US and should be released elsewhere after.
Would you use the Happy app?