I find myself charmed and amused but ultimately, I'm afraid, unmoved by the new Social Platform, "Happier". The @theipaper features an interview with its founder, Nataly Kogan, this week. She has created an interesting and worthy response to the hordes of cynical moaners that proliferate the more popular Social Networks.
I am especially interested in this proposition since both my family and my office staff has had to endure (and share) the most wretchedly tragic 2013. We have found ourselves, both professionally and personally, facing dilemmas regarding the appropriateness of sharing enough and / or too much online.
The dilemma fundamentally stems from two main considerations; firstly what do we share that will inform without "bringing people down", and secondly are we sharing simply to broadcast our grief or to lighten our own load?
The answers are not simple, but what I've found personally is that the benefits of sharing news, good or bad, are profound. On a practical level sharing the extraordinary circumstances that my family have found ourselves in this year had the benefit of keeping the inevitable sea of enquiries as to our wellbeing at arms length. During the months that our daughter was so very poorly my wife and I both decided that if for no other reason than to keep incoming texts, phone calls and letters to a minimum, then sharing our story would be worthwhile.
On an emotional level, whilst we certainly benefited from "offloading" a little of the stress we were experiencing, I think the real benefit went far deeper – and this is why the news feature about the "Happier" platform interested me so much. The simple fact is that we found that the very act of posting status updates and tweets that were as "upbeat" and positive as we could manage had an extremely positive effect on us. This wasn't always the case by any means, but it seemed to happen more often than not; photos and micro-blogs about how well our daughter was doing in her treatment, or a lovely visit she'd had in hospital, lifted our spirits as much as they did those following our story from afar.
The same has been largely true at work; my colleagues at @3bdigital are an extraordinarily resilient and stoic crowd, used to greeting the circumstances we have endured this year with good humour and gritty determination rather than gloomy capitulation. The tragedies we've endured in 2013 have brought us together as a tight family and I believe our Social and Professional profiles tell this story.
So, back to "Happier"... I remain unconvinced that such a clearly defined mission statement of happiness and gratitude is strictly necessary. I would be delighted to be proved wrong – I will follow their story with great interest and wish them well. But I have learnt this year that ultimately gratitude, humility and happiness (what is usually referred to as a "glass half full mentality") is within all of us and it is not the responsibility of any one Social Platform to draw it out of us with terms and conditions.
The simple call-to-action that we at 3B and at home take into 2014 is this: give your own reasons to be happy a name (and possibly a photo), share it (in less than 140 characters) and it will come back to you...