Thanks to Amazon, anyone can be a writer, but a glut of subpar material and dwindling attention spans have caused many to believe reading is dead. Hooked is an app for the Snapchat generation that gives people bite-sized horror stories masquerading as text conversations.
The app was created by Prena Gupta and Parag Chordia, a couple who wanted to enliven teens and millennials to read. According to Gupta’s work on Medium.com, she was traveling the world with her husband and creating a science fiction novel when she was struck by a sense of panic. Who is going to read it?
Since the digital generation read from their phones, they needed a new way to digest good, entertaining stories and Hooked was born. The publishing industry has gone through a revolution where anyone with a story and a little cash can self-publish a novel, regardless of the quality, making standing out far more challenging.
There was a glut of material, but not many people reading. Gupta and her husband believed that storytelling was a fundamental part of humanity. It’s been around for thousands and thousands of years. Before people wrote down stories, they were shared by mouth from generation to generation. When Gutenberg invented the printing press, books were finally available to the masses. The publishing industry created literary legends by choosing and publishing only the finest material. Fast forward to today, and little has changed except the ability to get your book in front of people’s eyes.
Storytelling needed to change with the times, and Hooked was Gupta and Chordia’s answer. Initially, they did the standard startup procedure of A/B testing to see what people liked and what they didn’t. After much research, horror performed the best. Perhaps visceral emotions connected to it were more easily conveyed in text message type snippets.
Horror and thriller writing are exciting and move at a fast pace. Unlike other submitted text apps, the stories are designed to be read in only a few minutes. It’s a perfect distraction for the bus ride to school or the late-night train commute. Millions of people have downloaded the app and it only seems to be growing.
Personally, I found the stories fascinating and easily digestible, but the app has an annoying factor called Hoots. Hooked is like a free-to-play game. You can go so far at first, but if you really want to get powerful fast, then you must pay. Hooked allows a reader access to the stories for a short period and then makes him stop. He then has the option to either wait for his Hoot to recharge with time or buy some to continue the story. Readers can purchase a set number of Hoots or opt for an unlimited subscription.
Hooked is an interesting app and the stories are fun. When you run out of Hoots, you’re left wanting more, but whether it’s worth paying money is up to you. If you want to learn more, you can check out the website or download the app at the Google Playstore or Apple iTunes.