Depending on your point of view, the snooze button can be your best friend or your worst enemy. We’ve all struggled with waking up on time, and the snooze button can often lull us into a false sense of security, making it okay to jump back into your warm, comfy bed and ignore the outside world for another ten minutes or so. One Japanese iPhone app seems to have solved this conundrum with a time-tested method: public shaming.
Japanese iPhone app OKITE might not seem that unique. At first glance OKITE (“wake up!” in Japanese) looks like just another phone alarm clock. Even old flip phones (RAZR, anyone?) had alarm clocks built in. What makes OKITE different is that every time you hit the snooze button, the app sends out embarrassing tweets to all your followers on Twitter.
OKITE punishes you with some choice tweets for continuing to hit that snooze button. It covers everything from embarrassing fashion choices (“I’m wearing a sailor suit right now”) to the shamefully boastful (“The world needs more smart people like me”). But maybe the most condemning tweet of all from OKITE is “I can’t ride a bicycle.”
The interesting cultural thing about this app is the whole public shaming thing. In America when you do something shameful it’s all about the person doing the shameful thing. “What’s wrong with you?” “Why would you do that?” etc. In Japan, it’s kind of the opposite. When someone does something shameful, it’s always “What will the neighbors think?” and “What will your classmates think?” Public shame is the most terrifying motivator of all in Japan, and this app plays right in to that.
But, will this open the way for more shame-based apps? To-do lists might post about your bed-wetting problem on Facebook if you forget to go grocery shopping, or an app might post embarrassing childhood pictures on Tumblr if you forget to call your parents.
You can find OKITE on the Apple app store here, and you can check out all the tweets with the hashtag #OKITE here.