Already earning itself labels like Instagram for the wordophile, or the ideal Tumblr companion, Whims is a new iPhone-only social network that brings a little bit of Tumblr, a little bit of Twitter, a hint of Postsecret, and a bit of font magic and rolls it all into one.
The free app allows users to sign up for an account to share ‘Whims’ - in other words little updates using words, colours and fonts, that you can tweak and edit and get just right.
Whims sits precariously on the edge of a breeding ground of cheesy quotes and emo statements, but it also has the potential to be the most whimsical (yes I went there) app you’re ever going to use. Sometimes the perfectly placed font or color can do wonders to express exactly what you want to say in ways that 140 plain characters simply can’t. To find out how to use Whims and how to get the most out of the fledgling app, read on.
How the app works
Whims has 5 tabs. The first is your network – or your stream. This is where you’ll get to see all of the Whims that you’ve shared as well as those created by the people that you follow. The second tab is the Spotlight – where the most popular Whims are highlighted.
The third tab is where you go to create a new Whim. This is the heart and soul of the app. To get started with creating an app, you simply enter the text that you want to share. Here you can decide where the line breaks out, and how the words are spaced out. Once you’ve entered your text, hit the save button, and it will take you to the next step – where you can choose the font scheme and tweak it to get it right.
There are 21 individual schemes – each of which have two font options, and three color schemes. Double-tap the screen and you can select and highlight specific words to make the font larger, or to select between the two font options available in that scheme. You can alternate between the two fonts on specific words as a way to create emphasis, using visualization to drive a certain point home.
Once you’ve got your Whim exactly the way you want it, hit the save button, and it will post to your Whim account. You can also share it directly on Facebook or Twitter as you’re saving it. After you’ve saved it a Whim, you can still share it via Facebook or Twitter, in addition to email.
The fourth tab displays your activity – here you’ll see who’s interacting with you – following your account, liking your Whims and sharing them. The last tab brings you to your settings where you can find friends – through your contacts, Facebook, or a simple user search. You can also edit your profile, and view the Whims that you’ve liked.
Each Whim user’s profile page features their latest Whims, displayed as a grid. You can also see their followers, who follows them, and can access the Whims by other people that they’ve shared. On the other hand, Whims that you’ve liked are only visible to you.
Tips and Tricks
While you can use creative spacing and font size when creating Whims, you can do quite a bit more than just use text. You can also use Wingdings and symbols that you can access on your iPhone. One site that allows you to copy and paste Wingdings into the Whims app is Twitter Simbols.
Whims can also become an interesting social media tool for marketeers. An example Whims itself provides is by getting your followers to retweet or like a Whims image to run a little poll of sorts, like they did with the Biden and Ryan debate. Create the Whim – and share it directly to your social network of choice to get people to vote.
You can use Whims to create basic Ascii art and you can also use Whims with other languages besides English – including right-to-left languages like Arabic.
While the app is certainly off to a great start, there are a few basic features that Whims is still lacking. Discovering new Whims or users is a rather complicated affair. This could easily be overcome by allowing users to tag their Whims. Taggable whims become easy to search, making it possible to discover more than just the popular stuff. We also wouldn’t say no to a web-based interface which makes it easier to find other users and Whims.
Another feature that would come in handy is the ability to share directly to Tumblr. The app feels like it was made for the Tumblr audience, so we can only imagine it would be a matter of time before the feature is added.
Another feature that may fit right in with Whims is the ability to use an image as background for your Whim.
What do you think of the app? Let us know in the comments.