[App Fridays] 'Jam' with people across the world using Made in India HaikuJAM
At a time when social media is believed to be creating mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, community-driven app HaikuJAM aims to do the opposite.
A social writing game, HaikuJAM connects you with strangers around the world, who ‘jam’ with you to write micro-poems, quotes, or stories together.
The app is inspired by the Japanese poetic form 'haiku', which captures the essence of a moment in just three lines. Its ethos lies in promoting creativity, which according to research, can boost well-being, reduce stress, think clearly, and grow as people.
Earlier this week, the app was also one of the five ‘Made in India’ apps highlighted by Google Play Store on Republic Day.
Founded by Dhrupad Karwa, Neer Sharma, and Andrew Leung, who met at the University College London (UCL), HaikuJAM was initially launched in the UK in 2015, and started in Mumbai in 2017.
The company claims to have more than 800,000 jammers across 163 countries, who have written over 65 million lines in about 102 languages. Its mission is to realise a more meaningful universe by helping people express themselves without barriers.
Let us explore the app now
The app starts by asking you what brings you to HaikuJAM — to manage negative thoughts, connect with creative people, improve creative writing, and so on.
Then, you can go about creating an account using your email or Facebook. The app also asks you to agree to be respectful to everyone and keep the community safe.
Once you have signed up, you fill in some details — name, birth, gender, and photo. You can either use your original name or a pen name. Like Twitter, you also have a handle. Once done, you will get a flash for your first jam.
The concept is beautiful. You write a line and send it out to the world. Someone, somewhere will pick it up and add their thoughts to your idea, and send it forward. The final result — a three-line poem written by three different people — three complete strangers.
To help you get a hang of the app, HaikuJAM gives you three kinds of jam with a card-like interface, which you swipe right and left — similar to Tinder — to ‘jam’ with others.
When you add a line to someone else’s ‘jam’, you press the small send button at the bottom right of the card. The home screen too works in a similar card-like way with intuitive graphics. Each jam is with only three users. But, users can comment on each other’s jams.
Traditionally, Japanese haiku follows a syllable restriction, but HaikuJAM keeps it chill with a 17-word limit.
You can either ‘jam’ with strangers or in ‘circles’ (groups) of friends and new people you meet in the community. It is also possible to chat in circles and have conversations around the jams.
The app is similar to other social media platforms, in terms of connecting with fellow users and tagging each other.
But the core of it lies in writing. Users can track daily insights on their progress with a creativity tracker, mood tracker, writing challenges, prizes, badges, etc. The feature we loved the most is the emotion graph.
HaikuJAM analyses your writing to give you a graph of your emotions with percentages on joy, anger, sadness, etc. In the profile section, you can see your previous jams.
Besides random jamming, you can also set your own topics and write about causes that matter to you and create groups based on different topics or themes.
We felt welcomed on the app; it creates a sense of belonging as there is always someone who will hear you out, make you feel understood, and less alone.
In a nutshell, the short creative writing process helped in stress-busting, especially as you can share your ideas and thoughts with others, who may have a different perspective. HaikuJAM helps you to make creative writing a part of your daily life, with fresh prompts and a creativity tracker.
With consistent use of the app, you might be able to spot patterns of your thoughts and persistent emotions, along with jamming with like-minded users.
The only drawback — connecting with each other looks a little confusing. The friends’ section on the app shows prompts from users, but it is unclear how it is being matched or flashed. HaikuJAM could allow users to filter by genre so that one can jam based on their interest.
But, overall, HaikuJAM is sure to help you feel better, connect with others, and let your creative juices flow.