Prose Partner



Since Christmas, I've been posting my works (some of the same ones on this blog) to Prose, a social media app that takes what's best about Facebook and Twitter and Instagram – having followers ("friends") and getting your posts liked or reposted – and applies those networking techniques to the profession of writing. Recently I've become a Partner, a promotion that allows me to create Prose-wide challenges, boost others’ work to the Spotlight (the front-page), and monetize my books on the site. Mostly, however, it prints the word “Partner” beneath my username, which is kind of cool.


Bill Maher slammed social media companies for carefully crafting their apps to addict customers, likening their products to drugs and processed foods. The link is in the rewarding properties of these products, or as Bill Maher put is, “checking your likes is the new smoking.” Maher’s segment was responding to a piece by CBS on “brain hacking” in which Silicon Valley insiders described how companies use psychology to keep customers compulsively coming back to their app.

There’s an element of ‘gamification’ and ‘habit-forming’ on Prose, too, but I would argue that it benefits its writers instead of harms. Writing is hard, especially that disastrous translation from thought to text. Anything that incentivizes, okay, well, not anything (Misery just popped up into my head) but somethings which reward good writing, which encourage a friendly community with other writers, and which make poets and prosers excited about other people reading their work, is a boon to the would-be professional. For personal context, I tried for four years to get my wife back into writing. Prose did it in an hour. Since she created an account in January she’s written forty-six pieces (some poems, some prose). If she checks her “likes” a little too often – I’m not going to judge.

References

Bill Maher. “Social Media is the New Nicotine.” Real Time with Bill Maher, 12 May 2017. Accessed 14 May 2017.

Anderson Cooper. “Silicon Valley insider on why smartphones are ‘slot machines.’CBS This Morning, 10 April 2017. Accessed 14 May 2017.