If you’ve scanned Twitter or the comments on any news story of late, you’ve seen the trench warfare into which the Internet has devolved. To counter the meanness and cyberbullying, tech altruists Matt Ivester and Josh Beal have created an app called Kindr—unrelated to gay dating app Grindr, its own circle of hater hell—that allows users to send generated or custom compliments to their phone contacts.
Most of us don’t do warm and fuzzy. Which is why, upon downloading the app to experiment with my latent Kindr, gentlr side, my boyfriend raised an eyebrow. “Are you sending these to be sarcastic?” he asked. I answered no, and retaliated by sending him a pre-penned endearment about his dance moves being so good that Ke$ha would love them, because 1. I can’t help myself; 2. that’s an actual pre-penned Kindr kudo; and 3. my boyfriend is actually a great dancer (who hearts Ke$ha). I then sent more props off, scoring 100 Kindr points and feeling pretty good about myself.
I’m not alone, according to Ivester, who doesn’t reveal the number of Kindr users but says preliminary feedback suggests they are enjoying and promoting it. And the science field is taking notice. At Psychology Today, Media Psychology Research Center Director Pamela Rutledge remarked that “the payoff comes in the neural response of increased dopamine and oxytocin so you not only feel happier, you also feel more connected.”
And as my friends read, returned and/or smiled at my sent compliments, I indeed felt both, and then pondered a possible Kindr point limit. Whatever it is, that’s one high score where everyone wins.