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Website Copy Suggestions for "Thoughter" Project

A little over a month back, I had an exchange with someone on Hacker News about their project. I fairly often write website copy for pay, though as a ghostwriter through an online service. I gave them a few suggestions on the website copy for their project.

The project is called Thoughter and this is a copy of the original opening paragraph from the site that I was critiquing:


What Is This?
The first project out of Aytwit's software research labs. Sometimes you want to ask someone a question or tell them a secret and you suspect or hope they're thinking the same thing, but it's uncomfortable to bring up. This is why Thoughter was created. For example let's say it's the holidays and a father and son had a fight a few years ago and haven't spoken since. The father pushes a thought to his son like "I miss you #reunite" that lasts one week. If the son pushes a thought to his father within that time containing the same hashtag then they will both receive an email containing the other's message. Otherwise nothing happens. To help his chances the father can have a hint sent to his son that someone wants to #reunite but it won't say who. It's like the ego-saving technique in high school where a guy asks his friend to ask a girl if her friend likes him, but using internet crypto magic instead.


Here are my suggestions:


Sometimes you want to ask someone a question or tell them a secret and you suspect or hope they're thinking the same thing, but it's uncomfortable to bring up. This is what Thoughter is for!

And they don't even have to know Thoughter exists. You can send them a Hint. But more about that later.

Let's say it's the holidays and you and a loved one had a fight a while back. You aren't sure they would welcome hearing from you. You can send a Thought like "I miss you #reunite" that lasts one week. If your loved one sends the same sort of thing with a matching hashtag, you each get the other's email. If not, nothing happens.

This used to be done much more naturally back when people routinely lived in close-knit communities. People would ask a friend a question and that friend would ask their friend. Word traveled by the grapevine, which helped sort things out.

But in our increasingly mobile world, a lot of grapevines have basically died. This is your modern grapevine, now with Encryption!


Move: "The first project out of Aytwit's software research labs." to much later. Like close with it or something. It's important to you. It mostly isn't important to the process of getting adoption. Making it the first sentence amounts to "noise."


I guess a couple of days back, Doug Koellmer got back to me and said he had used my feedback to help him update the copy on his site. So this is the current opening paragraph (just the copy, not including embedded links):


What Is This?
Sometimes you want to ask someone a question or tell them a secret and you suspect or hope they're thinking the same thing, but it's uncomfortable to bring up. This is what Thoughter is for! For example let's say it's the holidays and you had a fight with a loved one a while back and haven't spoken since. You can push a thought like "I miss you #reunite" that lasts one week. If your loved one happens to push a thought with the same hashtag then you get each other's message. If not, nothing happens. To improve the chance of a match Thoughter can send a hint to your loved one that someone wants to #reunite but it won't say who. Back in the old days this kind of stuff was handled through networks of close personal connections, the grapevine, friends asking friends asking friends. Thoughter is your modern equivalent using internet encryption magic instead.


I asked if he would be okay with me writing about this on my professional site. Because most of the freelance writing I do is ghost writing or is otherwise protected by a Non Disclosure Agreement, I don't have a lot of samples of my work that I can share. This is being posted as a sample of my work and I will likely add a link to this post to my portfolio page at some point.

(Originally published elsewhere by me.)

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