Days, the visual journal from the team over at Wander, has been out for a little over a week publicly and I’ve enjoyed actively using it each day. As a young(-ish) father, husband, and professional, exciting things are happening all the time that I want to capture to remember—be it my wife’s new braids and earrings combo, the mess that our baby made eating dinner, the crazy outfit our toddler pulled together, progress on an interesting project I’m working on at work, or even just interesting and beautiful things that I see every day walking around this amazing city.
Days has created a platform to do just this—and, really, only this, to its credit. The app is fun, engaging, and inviting to use. I’ve found myself more connected to what I’m doing, noticing both the special and the mundane-but-meaningful moments and capturing it.
Currently the in-app process is a little slow and cumbersome—to the point that it almost feels like I’m removing myself from my day in order to document it—but the payoff right now is worth it to me. And I trust that some of these early kinks will get worked out and refined in subsequent releases.
The thing that concerns me about the app more than anything else though is not actually the app itself, but the trend that it represents. We are constantly recording data. Now, more than ever before, we have a digital trail of our every movement—quite literally in some cases—our passing thoughts on twitter, our interests on tumblr, our picture worthy moments on Instagram… there is great value in all these platforms but my fear is that they encourage the celebration of the fleeting, quantitative data. Where’s the platform for qualitative? Ok, look, I know they exist but they’re not near as widespread or easy to jump into. Why? Because analysis is hard. And as a society it feels like we’re gravitating away from deep thought.
In Days, the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is truly showcased and I love that—I can see the gist of my day’s activities in nine or so photos grouped together in an aesthetic little grid. And most likely I can remember what I was feeling in those moments. But, to grab hold of the bigger and deeper picture, often a thousand pictures cannot do what a few simple words can.
Writing gives us the opportunity to stop, to slow down, to reflect, to understand what is going on in the world and in our heads and in our hearts. Pictures—especially those taken on our phones in rapid gif-enabling succession—almost encourage the opposite: click, click, click, click and go.
It’s not on Days or any other app to help me slow down and think, and feel, and care. Days does an incredible job at what it proposes to do. But almost as much as I’ve enjoyed using it for what it’s good at, I’ve been thinking about the areas where the app, myself, and perhaps us as a society have fallen short. No technology can properly replace pondering prayer or meditation and documentation of the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and insights gained during those moments of contemplation.
Zeros and ones cannot quantify the whole of me. Honestly, thankfully now it can capture a lot of me, but lets not trick ourselves into thinking quantitative data equals a complete journal. Its fun to go back and look at old pictures—see how beautiful mom or gandma was back in the day. But, even these gems of photographic history can pale in comparison to a faded journal entry of a loved one where we can become transported into their minds and hearts at the moment they were sitting alone in a room working through the beautiful complexities of their mind through pen on paper.
So, seriously, go download Days. I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad that you did. But, don’t forget to write sometimes. The two together will truly be a meaningful masterpiece to look back on in days down the road.
Over the past few months, Varsity has been working with Sandboxr to develop their brand, user experience/app/etc, and user touch points such as the website—some of which have made it on here in the past. So these dudes just launched their Kickstarter campaign and we definitely think…