My Next Startup

Rich, I’m going to be rich I tell you.

Not because of writing, at least not in the immediate future.  But I have come up with an idea that I’m pretty sure will make me a millionaire.

The University of Michigan recently released a study showing that the use of Facebook makes people depressed.  (Don’t cancel your FB account yet (if that’s even still possible) there are some problems with the study, see here.))  The researchers suggested that it’s depressing to see the great things your friends are doing when you’re sitting at home looking at Facebook.  The problem being that most FB posts aren’t about sitting at home alone looking at FB — they’re about ‘Great view of the Alps’ or ‘ ‘Check out this great view of the Great Wall of China as I rappel down something cool.’  Or, ‘look at my child doing something cute.’  etc.

One of the things which contributes to all this is the idea that we’re generally expected to present a positive side of ourselves online (with the exception of comments sections, which as far as I can tell, are where all the rage and hatred in our society are meant to be channeled.)

I ran into this recently when I wrote a guest post for my publisher’s website in part about the things I DON’T like in YA and MG fiction.  After seeing my post, they very gently and graciously suggested it might be better if I posted it on my own website, as they try to keep a more upbeat (which I read as ‘less embittered and filled with hate’) tone on their website. Instead they were kind enough to post a Q & A with me, which you can see here.

So here’s the suggestion which I believe will make me a millionaire:  a social networking site where you can only post sad events, or setbacks in your life.  Call it:  Sadface.

You get dumped?  Go online and you’ll see that one of your friends just got in a bike accident and broke their hand.  Flub a job interview, check out Sadface, and you’ll see that half a dozen of your friends have been unemployed for months longer than you.  Instead of updates, we’ll call them down-dates.  Instead of a like button, there’ll be a ‘I’m so sorry’ button.

Any venture capitalists out there, get in touch.
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3 Comments

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3 responses to “My Next Startup

  1. Hi Ari, love your idea, though I am an unfunded writer. I find FB not only depressing, but a time wasting sap of creative energy, and I panic when I get notifications saying I have 57 posts awaiting me. By the way, I just finished “Power of Light” which I adored, especially as things tied up nicely in the end. The night I finished several weird things happened in my apt. leading me to believe that kabbalah and golems are (sort of) alive and well. I am hoping to use your book in my Jewish kid’s book club (through something call Jewish Journey Project), will keep you posted. My principal isn’t sure our kids are old enough. All the best, sadly and happily posting, Sheila

  2. Hi Sheila,

    Thanks so much for your comments. I think by “Power of LIght” you meant “The Path of Names.” (Although I’m totally flattered that you’d exchange a title by Isaac Bashevis Singer for my novel — I love Singer’s work.) How old are the kids in your book club? I think the recommended age group for THE PATH OF NAMES is 5th grade and up. (Some 4th graders I’ve heard from have enjoyed it, but some have found bits too scary.)

    All the best,

    Ari

    • too many holidays, of course it is path of names, but I had power of light on my mind. May all good things lead to heaven, and yes, I will lobby for our 5th graders, maybe 4th. Hey, it was scary for me. That’s the fun of it.

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