What is the aesthetic value of social media right now? Facebook, in this election year, has gone utterly toxic; Instagram, though there are some bright spots, feels polluted by the personal “brand”; and Twitter remains a banana republic of rabble, flame wars, and the insane, all talking to themselves. It’s in this moment that an app called Into, booted up by three Penn kids, arrives, and if it takes off, it might be an antidote to the growing epidemic of social media malaise just described.
At its heart, Into is very, very simple: A social network in which people merely share things they’re into. It could be a band, a restaurant, a book, anything. The app is equipped with some easy search, linkout and photo functions, and the user is given 300 characters to describe why they’re into what they’re into, and if you like what someone else is into, you can comment or bookmark it for later perusal. And in the current climate, it feels like real breath of fresh air: Finally, something that’s just about things that people like.
Like all other forms of social media, though, the onus is on the user and the social network to actually post content that’s good or interesting. With Into’s initial rollout to Penn undergrads earlier this year, the app has shown it functions really well, but God help you if you’re looking for, say, music recommendations; as the app’s audience begins to scale, though, you can see how Into could be truly revelatory, especially if more savvy “curators” (ohhhh, that poor, beleaguered word) get into the mix. For the moment, we’re cautiously optimistic and really into where Into might go.