There’s this new app called uFeelMe, but instead of a photo or video or simple line of text, it disseminates actual feelings, feelings users have uploaded to a catalogue of Feels, available for consumption by friends, family, vague outer reaches of massing social networks.
“uFeelMe cuts to the heart of what sharing online is,” says the app’s creator, some kid. “A photo is feeling, a video is feeling, a Tweet is feeling, a…” and on he goes.
The tech that makes this app work is mysterious, shrouded, and no effort to determine its innards has yielded results. Theories: invisible eye scanner, algorithm that sorts recent browsing and texts, sensors on the back of smartphones pressing against desperate palms. No user, however, has thus far questioned the validity of the feelings catalogued within.
What is known is that two feelings have emerged as most popular, felt repeatedly and repeatedly, during times of triumph and listlessness and boredom and shattering regret.
The first is Kanye West, of course. I’ve not indulged myself, no, I’m a long-time slow adapter (Tweet at me if patient and good with Snapchat, btw). I have, however, talked to dozens who indulge on the regular, who savor the Kanye West Feel as if it were a home. The Kanye West Feel, they tell me, is indomitable, unstoppable, powerful, brash, cocky. But what do those words even mean? My friend Lisa, from Milwaukee, elaborates:
“To feel Kanye West is to go to sixth grade in a brand new pair of fashion-forward jeans, about which you have your doubts. On that same day of school you have an idea for a joke you think is good, so good, the funniest thing anyone has said yet, a joke to win your crush, to endear the platonics, to impress your teacher, whom you could take or leave but still. After you say the joke, though, half the class laughs, as hard as you expected, and half the class is furious, insulting, racist. So, you go off quiet on your own to create. You feel me?”
The second Feel is Gerard Plimpton of Minnesota. He works in IT. Gerard’s Feel was recorded while watching a particularly good episode of Bob’s Burgers, a funny cartoon for adults that you’ve seen. Gerard was curled on his couch watching at night after the first radiant day of true spring (May 3) in Minnesota; he’d been outside, hiking flatlands. His fiancée was leaned against him. She’d been hiking too. A TV tray beside their couch held two empty plastic containers of yogurt, key lime with a white chocolate chip and graham cracker crumble in a separate pouch. There were also dirty spoons.
The app creator reports that en route to selecting either top Feel, every user, all of us, spends 45 seconds minimum, an Internet eternity, with thumb poised above screen, above couch or Kanye West.
Zack Quaintance lives in Northern California. His fiction has been published by The Austin Review and The Stockholm Review of Literature.