A Let’s Make it Better App

So, there is a person that I follow on twitter. She’s been having a rough go of things lately. She’s not whining about it, or asking for favors because of it.

She is documenting it because her experiences are part of a larger social justice struggle. The things she experiences daily are things that I simply don’t have to deal with, things that I would guess the majority of my readers don’t have to deal with. But they are her daily lived reality. And they are the daily lived reality of many other people like her.

I was scrolling her feed the other day and trying to find ways to support her. There’s the easy and obvious, reply to her with words of encouragement. I did that, but I am a small voice in a sea of hate on her bad days. And – I’m a stranger. I follow her, but she does not follow me. We are not friends. We are simply fellow travelers, and I am eavesdropping on her conversation at the bar. I am an intruder in her space and my voice simply does not travel as far inside as that of a friend.

Now, at a regular bar if this happened, I could have my server, or the bartender, send over a drink or some food. Some small token from one human to another, “I see you, I hear you, I feel you. This too shall pass.”

But, on twitter… There is no way to do something that tangible.

I did send her a message and offered the usual – a shipment of chocolate or cookies, or even homemade jam. (Remarkably, yes, sometimes strangers do accept shipments of jam from me.) She didn’t reply. Again, I’m a stranger, and for me to send her anything she would have to trust me enough to give me her address – and she has no reason to do that.

And then I thought about other times that I have reached out to people on the internets to send them emergency chocolate, a box of cookies, coffee and tea gift baskets, a handwritten letter, and yes – jam.

And I thought about all the people I follow and interact with, people I have never met, probably never will meet, people who have absolutely no reason to give me their address (Have you seen the ranty shit I write!?! Would you trust me with your address?!?) and I had an ah-ha! moment.

I am not normally an app kinda gal, but… There should be an app for this.

There should be an app that allows someone like me to send a cookie gram, or chocolate gram, or flowergram or emergency teddy bear to someone on twitter or facebook or next-hip-social media space – even if their handle is the only thing I know about them.

Now – the first follow-up thought I had to this epiphany was – “Oh wait, the trolls!” Because many of the people who need this service most need it because they are receiving so much hate on the daily, fucking rivers of hate, tsunamis of hate, that the last thing they need is for trolls to be able to send them hateful messages wrapped up with flowers. Can you even imagine surviving *another* horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day only to come home to a doorstep filled with sugar-coated hate!?!

So – this app would need to work with known retailers, retailers who refuse to print hate filled messages on anything. Personally, in my magic app world – you would get to choose from a number of positive messages, no personalization options, and send only nice things. (No lumps of coal.)

Once someone like me signed up/signed in with my social handle, I could input the handle of the person I wanted to send something to and the social network that handle was associated with. The app would ping that person and let them know they had a gift pending. The person would have the option to accept or deny the gift. If they accepted they would sign in (if they were a member it could be a simple one click YES! or NOPE!) and put in their address, so the kindly stalker would never see it, and the worthy person would receive their gift. If they rejected their gift, or simply ignored the gift notice for more than 3 days, the giver wouldn’t be charged and no gift would be sent.

The app company could skim off the top of the charges, taking anywhere from 1-3% for their trouble (or charge the gift giver a standard service fee ala Fandango) and get the goodies delivered.

I am telling all of you about this idea in the hopes that one of you (or lots of you) are app developers or know app developers because that is not my skill set, but this is an app that I would pay for and use and would like to see in the world. So, if someone could make that happen and get back to me, that would be great.

There are a whole lot of people out there who could use some cookies and I’m just the lady to send them.




Filed under Naive idealism, Things that work

7 responses to “A Let’s Make it Better App

  1. i’m not an app builder…but I am a positive force, just as you are…once, a man posted multiple times about some struggle, some sadness in his search to make the best out of his life. I couldn’t help him. And he, could not help me in mine. But, he expressed his only wish was his words might find a beautiful soul who read them and connected, if only, with his words. Sometimes, that’s just about all a fragile soul can handle…they cannot even handle our contact or our support, not even our love…but they gain hope that there are those who hear their voice. Be Peace-filled – Ret

  2. Rebecca Visscher

    Good idea! Mama

  3. What an incredible idea! I hope some talented app builder sees this and runs with it.

  4. I have been lurking, reading your blog for a couple years now. I really enjoy reading it, and agree with most of your rants, especially those related to women’s rights. I think this is a neat idea for an app, and a way for strangers to show they care. My only concern, to be honest, is there are unfortunately a few people who are so filled with hate that I wouldn’t put it past them to select a nice message, and then send it with poisoned cookies. For that reason, I would be reluctant to accept a gift from such an app. As a precaution, the app developers would probably be wise to either restrict the gifts to inedible things, or have some sort of background check/testing procedure. It is disheartening how much hate/prejudice/inequality still exists in the United States of America in 2014, and I admire you for wanting to do something to counteract it.

    • Allison,
      Yes, that was my big fear as well – but I think if the app simply worked with known retailers like 1-800-Flowers so that all goods are coming from a neutral source. And then they simply have to make sure that either there is no personalization option, or that any personalization is screened carefully for hate/threats, etc.
      Nothing is perfect, but I think this is doable.

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