Passive-aggressive shame apps are multiplying

There's a growing market for apps that guilt users into tacking simple actions, like waking up and working out. 

Internet Culture

Published Feb 21, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 11:56 pm CDT

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If you can’t wake up without being embarrassed on the Internet, then there might be something flawed in your work ethic. Nonetheless, there’s a growing list of start-ups hocking passive-aggressive encouragement apps, which suggests that these days, people are best motivated by what essentially amounts to e-masochism. 

For example, the Japanese Okite, BetterMe, and Shame Alarm all promise to publicly shame users who hit snooze on their alarm clocks by sending embarrassing tweets or Facebook posts to all their followers. GymShamer offers a similar service, but connects to FourSquare so that tweets are sent out when you skip going to the gym. Users can usually change a tweet’s content and the frequency at which they’re sent out, but regardless, is the threat of a “Haha, I’m lazy” tweet necessary to get up in the morning?

For some, it’s not enough. Monetary punishment for missing a responsibility is more motivating than a silly tweet, though, and more and more start-ups are connecting your bank account to their services. 

The best examples of this trend include GymPact and StickK, two apps that force users to include credit card information upfront before they choose the service. Whereas GymPact becomes a competitive money pool where all participants make a small profit each time a singular user misses a promised work-out, StickK offers the opportunity to ‘partner’ with organizations (including various charities) that will take your money each time you get a little lazy. 

Read the full story on Motherboard. 

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*First Published: Feb 21, 2013, 3:47 pm CST