You’re either going to love Opuss, or you’re going to really hate it. It’s a social network for word lovers. It’s Instagram for poetry. It’s Twitter for wannabe comedians. It’s beautifully and thoughtfully designed, but, still in its early days, isn’t as compelling as it could be.
Be aware that Opuss is another (free) social network. Those of you suffering social network fatigue, look away now. Before you can do anything with Opuss, it wants to know who you are. It wants a username and a password, a name and an email address. Thus unlocked, you’re allowed into yet another app-based walled garden, this one decorated with words.
Opuss is a place for creative writers. No judgement is made about what sort of thing you want to write, or whether your writing is any good. As long as you have something to contribute, you’re welcome here.
So you can write jokes. You can paste in quotes you’ve found on the internet. You can write things the app calls “blogs”, but which should of course be referred to as “blog posts”. Sorry. I’m old-skool like that.
And more. Poems. Scripts. Reviews. “Other”. Whatever. Having tagged something thusly, you can add sub-categories too. Your jokes can be Adult or Animal or Blonde, and your Poetry can be Haiku or Allegory or Verse. It’s all been carefully thought through.
When you’re not writing things for Opuss, your other task is browsing other people’s stuff. Like other networks, you can follow people whose stuff you like. How do you find them? Via the (pretty nifty, actually) Top charts of most popular posts during the last day, week, month or year. Soon, you’ll be able to enter competitions.
From a design perspective, Opuss is a work of genius. There’s a huge amount packed into it, but it doesn’t feel overburdened by features or controls. The iPad version scales well, and both versions look gorgeous with a range of wooden backgrounds and paper textures. Even the Help section looks good.
What puts me off, for now at least, is the content. Too much of it is tired jokes and dull, seen-it-before quotes. Too much of it is unfunny, unoriginal, just plain uninteresting. What Opuss really needs is an injection of wit, originality, and inspiration. Perhaps that will come with more users and more time.
The team behind Opuss say it fills a gap left by other social networks. They say:
Twitter isn’t about words it’s a communication utility. A thumb on the pulse of humanity’s consciousness. Facebook has become a social sludge of frictionless puerile cruft. Both these networks need a way to attach words with meaning. Something not to scan but something to slow down and read.
I completely disagree with their statement that “Twitter isn’t about words”, but much of the rest of that paragraph rings true. So despite my personal dislike of signing up to new social networks, I can see the space Opuss is trying to fill. I can see the potential. But everything I liked most about it could have worked just as well on Twitter.
Pro: An interesting idea, nicely designed.
Con: Needs more voices. Yet another social network.