Somewhere between Snapchat’s rise and the NSA spying revelations, it became en vogue not to have our daily adventures and thoughts etched in stone on a timeline or profile page.
Capitalizing on this trend were Whisper, Confide and then Secret.
Now there’s Wut, from one member of Square’s founding team, Paul McKellar.
It’s a very, very, very simple app. Just a text screen with a fluorescent background. You type in what you want to say, and then it shoots out as a push notification to all of your friends. You never reveal who you are. (But people might be able to guess because they’re your friends, after all.)
“It’s an ambient pulse of what your friends are doing and using,” said McKellar, who quietly launched the app a few weeks ago with Beamer Wilkins.
Like Secret, it riffs off Frank Warren’s PostSecret project.
But Wut’s updates are even more transient than Secret’s. They live on the lockscreen, and then they disappear. You can’t go into the app to find them.
“Wut’s messages don’t build up over time. You don’t have to go back and read 47,000 tweets. The most you can see at any time is five messages,” McKellar said.
The app’s deceptively simple design — no content in a feed and nothing to look at inside — made it difficult for Apple’s app store reviewers to understand Wut’s purpose. They kept sending it back to McKellar until he had to literally record a video of himself using two phones for it to make sense.
The messages I get on Wut are pretty frivolous (see the attached screenshot where I asked a bunch of people to send me messages. Wut wut?!).
Occasionally, memes run through the community. Last week, it was about saying who you were having dinner or coffee with that day or night.
Wut’s push notifications are also silent, meaning the app won’t interrupt you if you aren’t looking at the screen.
“You’d never get woken up in the middle of the night by this,” said McKellar, who was most recently an entrepreneur-in-residence at SV Angel after leaving Square.
The hope is that this might take off amongst teens, who are used to being bombarded with messages all day long and get the idea of self-destructing content from products like Snapchat. Wut is currently bootstrapped.