Our heightened emotions highlight how important the people around us are.
Our greatest joys are amplified by the presence of friends--weddings need guests and births occur with family in the waiting rooms. Our great adventures are made memorable when they're had with faithful friends at our side. Our successes are enjoyed more when someone enjoys them with us. And pain is certainly no different.
In your greatest griefs you want someone there to hear you. If there were someone to support you or relate with you in your pain, your pain may be a little bit more endurable. Pain needs people.
In our good emotions people act as a multiplier. In our pain, people serve as a foundation.
While we went to great lengths to design an app in which it's safe to post such sensitive content, there is always some potential for unempathetic people.
As a user you can determine if someone can comment on your story. If you turn it off, then the only contact the world can have with you is to "support" you or click "me too." If you turn on the comment feature on your story, you can always delete someone's comment if it's unempathetic.
However, I suppose some could still make negative comments within the app or make light of Wail be creating an insincere account. This is where the experiment comes in.
Our intent is to create a safe, cathartic place to say something out loud. But we are also experimenting with the small potential for negativity with the app. Our wager is when it comes to the heaviest hardships in our life, that individuals and the community as a whole will respect that place.
After you sign up, you land on the main feed screen. You scroll through posts of people in your community (which is a distance that you've selected on your account page).
As you read through the posts, you can "support" the person who wrote the post by double tapping their story. Or you can click the button for "Me Too" if you suffer from or experience the same . Lastly, you can leave a comment on the post to further connect with the person who posted.
If you write your own story, you'll be asked to choose the category under which the post will appear (which is one of 5 categories: 1: pain, illness, and death, 2. Depression, 3. Addiction, 4. Guilt, Shame, and Regret, and 5. Fear). After you choose the category, write your story using less than 125 characters and click post. Lastly, find out you're not alone.
It was about 4 years ago I thought we needed a modern day Wailing Wall, like the one in Jerusalem--a place where any and all could unload some burdens anonymously. To get it out, stop bottling up our weighty fetters.
The vision was that once internet traffic arrived, just like the Wailing Wall in old Jerusalem, they would find many had come before them and they had the same burdens. Hopefully there would be something cathartic about learning that our no-one-will-understand-what-I'm-going-through burdens were the same burdens others were bearing. It never happened as a website, but I think it makes a better mobile app today.
The general idea of a wailing wall is nothing new, of course. People have always needed a place to voice their burdens with some semblance of privacy. It's why the institution of the best friend, the psychologist's couch, and church confessional have endured through the years. People aren't looking for a magical fix, only a place to say something out loud.
I'm not sure what the magic is about saying something out loud, but we don't need a psychological study to prove it. We need only look at the countless times people huff that powerful sigh, "there, I said it."
Life can be really sticky and sad. People get cancer, tell lies, get depressed, commit suicide, and every other deflating disaster in life. Some of us stack these things up in our life only to find we've built a terribly sad wall isolating us from our fellow man and woman.
But if we allow it, we can find something unusual in these isolating parts of life. We can find in a rush of supernatural relief we're not alone at the wall, nor does it isolate us. We can find that as we stand before it, we stand many others, that we're not alone. We stand with others, yelling at it, not submitting to it, and instead making it a gathering place where we come together.