Why This Not-So-Social Digital Platform Is Exactly What We Need
It feels like every day now we hear negative news about the uses of social media. The latest is a study from the University of Pennsylvania in early November, which seems to be the first official research study linking social media usage to loneliness and depression.
I mean, it’s not that surprising. Most of us who use it don’t really need the science to back it up. We know. Steeping yourself so much in what other people are doing, constantly comparing yourself to others and living with fear of missing out isn’t healthy. Add in the drama, stalking, political news and it’s really not the happy place it used to be.
To be honest, I’ve actually had my fill of social media to the point where I’m really starting to dial it back. But something changed my mind when I was introduced – and converted – to using WERSTARS.com.
Before I tell you about my discovery of WERSTARS, I want to expand my thoughts on social media and then get into why a platform like WERSTARS is so useful.
It’s Mostly Not Real
One of the biggest challenges with social media is the fake news. No, not just that fake news. It just feels like there’s a lot of faking going on all around. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen couples post lovey-dovey messages publicly only to find out that they aren’t happy together in the background. Or when I open up Instagram, everyone is apparently living the perfect life – except for me.
I think that’s why so many people feel that anxiety. You look up and all you see is people traveling the globe, eating great meals and doing all of the coolest things while you’re just stuck in your mid-afternoon boredom behind an office desk. Then you paint this picture in your head that you’re missing out on life. How CAN you be happy with that mindset?
While some of what we see on social media is real, a large portion of it is not. The truth is, people fake, exaggerate and put on a façade to show how great everything is. I’m fine with it, but I think most of us have caught on that it’s simply not reality.
Fatigued With Feeds
I’ve had my fill of feeds. Yes, I know. They are still very useful and are going to be a part of my life the rest of my life, but I’m trying to whittle down the noise a little bit.
There’s a Facebook feed with what everyone’s up to. Then there’s a LinkedIn feed with what all the work folk are up to. Then there’s an Instagram feed with what all the cool peeps are up to. Add to that, newsfeeds, Tumblr and Twitter. And then there’s the approval that comes with it. This post has been ‘liked’ a million times and that one ‘upvoted’ and this one ‘retweeted’. Are we posting things truly important to us or is it for the likes, retweets and shares? I’ve often wondered.
With WERSTARS, there is no feed. There is no noise. I do it for myself and no one else, and I like that.
What Is WERSTARS?
In short, it’s a website where you see your whole life on one page. First off, it’s a gorgeous layout. I’ve never seen a website that looks like this: your page will eventually look like a sky populated with stars. The sky is filled with your years, which scale from your original birthday up the current day. So, as you get older, your sky will grow.
Here’s how the rest of it works:
-Add your moments, which can be photos, videos, journals, recipes, career highlights, birthdays, new year’s or anything else;
-When you add a moment, you choose the date and then a star is created on your sky on that date;
-Add keywords like “travel” or “new year’s”. Then when you click those keywords later, the sky filters the stars with just the moments related to that keyword. It makes it so easy to find things;
-When you tag others, the star (and moment) appears on the same day and date on their sky too. That’s how you share. You can also click on a person to filter the sky by just the moments between the two of you;
-Save things publicly or privately.
Appreciate Your Life
A funny thing happened when I started using WERSTARS: it helped me discover happiness.
Originally, I spoke with the founder, Dave Golokhov, and he talked about how it helped him find happiness but I figured it’s more of a marketing spiel. Everyone has a sales pitch for happiness, right? But in this case, it is true. I personally felt that effect and here’s why:
The difference with saving photos, memories, and videos here versus other networks is that with WERSTARS, it’s mostly just for you. It’s like having a really versatile journal where it’s easy to find things and revisit them. On social media, we compare ourselves to others so much and search for what’s missing in our lives. With WERSTARS, it’s about seeing what you DO have.
I felt the effects after using it for just a couple of weeks. I saved about 20-30 moments and then revisited them a couple of times. Hitting the random button and having cool things from my history pop up really made me feel all the feels. I saw my life, my accomplishments and the things that really made me happy. There’s no judgement from others – just the things that were important to me.
It was weird to see myself in that light as so often, I’m looking to see what’s missing in my life. I need to hit the gym or I need to save more money or I need to make progress in some other way. This allowed me to focus on what I HAVE done and what I HAVE accomplished. I really developed some gratitude and it’s helped shift my mindset.
There are all sorts of studies that say happiness is closely tied to appreciating what you do have. I can now vouch for that.
So…Where Do You Save Your Stuff?
I’ve kind of 180ed in my social (networking) life. When I first started using Facebook, it would be the main place where I saved my photos. Girls’ trip? Album posted. Hosted a party? Album posted. Nowadays, it feels cringey to do that; we’ve just changed the way we share.
I found myself going the complete opposite route: not saving any of my stuff and I don’t like that either. I have my photos on my iPhone that are backed up by the cloud but that’s mostly it. The rest of my photos from my good camera sit in folders on a desktop.
The issue with that is that you almost never revisit it. All of those good memories from birthdays or school or milestones and then they just sit in some digital pile. WERSTARS actually makes sense because we should revisit our childhood, how we celebrate New Year’s and our relationships. And because there’s no feed and no judging, I’ve felt much more comfortable using it as a place to save memories online.
And it’s far easier for me to revisit things (just open the app) and find what I’m looking for. Whether it’s by year, or a keyword, or relationship, I can see what my life is about. This website and app (iOS and Google Play) not only make so much sense, it’s what we need right now. Best of all, it’s completely free. Try it out by using the website and/or downloading WERSTARS and let me know your thoughts in the comments.