Binky - A Pointless Social Network for 2017

It's hard to derive much entertainment from social media at the moment. Facebook and Twitter have increasingly become warped sounding boards for the state of the world and recently things have been pretty bleak. 'Active' social media use has faded away and been replaced with endless, virtually pointless scrolling as you rifle through your news feed, barely engaging with the material on offer, most of which is advertising.

The solution is obvious - stop scrolling, either quit social media or find a new way of using it actively, but there might be a third option. What if you could take the actions - the scrolling, liking and commenting - and isolate them from the outside world, turn the whole experience into a kind of release? Well, that's what Binky does.

It started out as a kind of satire, a social network which offers the same feed of content, and the same ways to engage with it, but restricts it solely to you. In practise, it looks a bit like a cross pollination of Tumblr and Facebook, but all the 'Binks' are just things that exist. Let me give you an example, currently the top items on my feed are Jeff Beck, The X-Files, Taoism, the sheepshank knot and a ferret. I can either like, comment on or 're-Bink' these things, but it does nothing.

Well, not nothing, but not a lot. If you 'like' a post there's a small explosion of little stars, and if you re-Bink it there's a cascade of thumbs up symbols. If you comment, it doesn't matter what you try to type, Binky will start just putting words in for you, usually something along the lines of 'omg i love this so much'. It doesn't matter though, nobody else will ever see it. Oh, and you can also swipe left or right, prompting either a kind of fireworks symbol or a big middle finger to appear.

It's amusing, but some have observed that it could actually be the ideal social network for the current climate - it satiates the desire to scroll, like and comment without affixing it to anything in reality. It takes the most addictive aspect of social media and puts it in a closed circuit. If you're doing it on Binky, you might not feel so tempted to check your Facebook every five minutes.

If you really think about it, using social media to procrastinate or alleviate boredom doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's a tool for communication, for connecting with people, but the instant gratification it provides has clouded its purpose. Perhaps if we all turned to Binky when we were bored, we'd start to remember the appeal of Facebook and Twitter, and start enjoying them again.

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