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Tech by VICE

Trust Me, I'm Cool (An App)

Here's the thing with regard to relative coolness: it's good to be cool and it's hip to be square; no one likes to party with losers and if you'd like to have a say, it's important to stay on top of trends. Being cool is different than being "popular...

by Sean Yeaton
Oct 25 2012, 7:30pm

Here’s the thing with regards to relative coolness: It’s good to be cool and it’s hip to be square. No one likes to party with losers and if you’d like to have a say, it’s important to stay on top of trends. Being cool is different than being “popular,” the guide to which Gloria Winters gifted young girlkind in print form in 1964 with Penny’s Guide to Teen-Age Charm and Popularity, which Nada Surf heroically and sarcastically dismantled in 1996 with their popular song “Popular.” It was just the guide itself, which except for the chorus of the song, is blankly spoken by Nada Surf’s frontman Matthew Caws, making the song’s popularity itself kind of remarkable given its sonic uniqueness. Uniqueness is tangentially related to coolness, which is ultimately governed by what Malcolm Gladwell would call “information specialists,” or “people we rely upon to connect us with new information.” You know, mavens. And, oh shit, there’s an app for that.

MavenSay, which came out in the App Store today, is a social curation app that makes sharing tips on restaurants, books, music, fashion, etc. into a game that rewards users when others spread their content. It’s further commodification of “cool” targeted at people who want you to be cool too, who aren’t necessarily popular. You see, MavenSay isn’t for the Lil Waynes of the world, it’s for commoners like you and I. It’s for that guy with the Ride the Lightning Tour Metallica t-shirt who has an impeccable palate for stinky cheeses, and that lawyer in Midtown with the matchless vintage wardrobe. Never mind Lady Gaga, it’s the timid trendsetter who you’ll want to follow on MavenSay to see if you Like what they tweet about.

MavenSay’s hipster spokesbear Fred gives a rundown of the app

An updated version of the aforementioned Nada Surf song might make an argument for “liking” things before they “go viral,” torrenting albums before they’re released or resurrecting old fads and icons. Then again the definition of “popular” has sort of been updated too. We live in a culture that measures popularity with indexing tools like Klout and the almighty Like Button. Video killed the radio star, Instagram killed Eastman Kodak. The innovators dilemma but hardly the worry of the maven. There are still things that are fundamentally cool, man; shit that’s too unwaveringly rad for any indexing tool to burden itself with the task of measuring. “Indexing tool” is in and of itself is a very uncool looking and sounding term. Maybe it could be refreshing to trust people over Likes.

You can download MavenSay in the App Store