Regularly journaling your thoughts and feelings is a good way to “check in with yourself,” raise your self-awareness and connect with your intuition, but it can also be a time-consuming activity that most of us don’t have time for, given our busy lives. A company called All Tomorrows wants to change that, by offering a quick and arguably more fun way to track your feelings with a new diary app called Emojiary.
The app seems a little silly, initially. To translate your day into diary entries, you pick out a few emoticons that help you visualize your abstract thoughts and feelings. After entering these in your app diary, the Emojiary bot then chats with you to ask follow-up questions.
“Can you tell me a bit more about why you feel that way?,” it says. The bot also tells you how the app’s other features work instead of putting your through a “walk-through” like some other apps do upon first launch.
For instance, the bot explains how you’ll receive “awards” as you continue to use the app, which include special emoji that help you express different emotions. Upon my first entry, for example, I received a “unicorn” emoji that Emojiary said was for helping me with my “far-out, mystical feelings.” Okay then!
My initial impression of the app is that it was something that would make the most sense for a teenager, sitting in their bedroom dramatically documenting their youthful concerns, and I’m not entirely convinced there’s a big market for the app beyond the young adult demographic, or other navel-gazers and quantified self enthusiasts. The exception would be those suffering from mood disorders, of course, who want to chronicle emotional changes for the purposes of better understanding their triggers and other medical concerns, like how a dosage change has affected them.
That being said, the app could still prove valuable for those in these groups by helping them draw out their feelings in new ways, and then, further down the road, help them to see the patterns of their ups and downs. That’s something the company is working toward currently, but it doesn’t have anything to test in this area at the time. For that reason, it’s hard to analyze whether or not Emojiary’s long-term game plan of supporting your emotional well-being and delivering insights will hold up.
Explains co-founder Albert Lee, previously of design and consulting firm IDEO, the All Tomorrows team does a lot of product research and prototyping before it releases an app publicly, and what they found was that people were “hungry for support in understanding, processing, and channeling their emotions,” he says. That’s how they came up with Emojiary.
“Journaling has been proven to be beneficial in this way, but it’s extremely high friction. You get a blank page in front of you and it’s hard to put non-verbal feelings into words,” Lee says, describing the problem they wanted to solve. “Although people often think of emoji as fun and silly, it’s actually a really robust library of potential emotional states and it’s already used in conversation to add emotional context to words, making it a natural fit.”
During a month-long beta tests with 1,000 users, more than 75% inputted daily – pretty impressive engagement, though it’s too soon to say if those numbers will scale.
The company is now wrapping up work on an in-app dashboard that will share some basic insights about how you’ve felt over time, and expects to roll this out in a few weeks.
Emojiary’s app is a free download on iTunes.