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College senior Alex Pierson designed Springpop to offer a positive alternative to the prevalent negativity found on other social media platforms.

Credit: Courtesy of Springpop

College senior Alex Pierson launched an app over the summer that is now spreading positivity all over the world.

The app, called Springpop, is a controlled news feed of upbeat posts. Users choose producers of happy material to follow for content ranging from health tips to motivational articles to outfit suggestions.

Pierson started planning the app in her first two years at Penn as a way to ameliorate the stress she observed in Penn’s atmosphere. She learned in her positive psychology class that even a small daily dose of positivity can improve mental health, so she created Springpop to serve as that steady source of optimism.

College senior Kate Halper, a regular Springpop user, described "the PennFace and the one-upping — the competition of who has it harder" that she sees daily on campus. 

Now, Springpop’s users span from Penn to South Africa, the Philippines and Australia. However, Pierson said the most rewarding part of her project has been receiving emails from users praising the app for its success in improving their days.

In addition to the accounts users follow, they also receive five motivational posts from the Springpop account that Pierson curates every morning.

Pierson took strides to ensure that the app was streamlined and clutter-free to remain calming for its busy users. Producers can post a maximum of five times per day, which serves the twofold purpose of forcing creators to be discerning while not overwhelming their followers.

Users may only follow 50 people as another measure of quality control, Pierson said. She wanted to foster an environment in which people would unfollow users whose content didn’t interest them. This way, users' feeds would stay as positive and personal as possible.

“The idea behind Springpop is quality over quantity,” she said. “I wanted a place where a busy student could — if they had five minutes in a Starbucks line — scroll through and always find something high quality."

This, to Pierson, is what separates Springpop from apps like Pinterest, where users are inundated with content and can have difficulty finding interesting material.

Springpop user and Engineering senior Nova Fallen agreed: “[Springpop] is what will make you happy, without anything that may bring you down."

Unlike conventional social networks, Springpop does not show numbers of likes and followers. Instead, posts receive between one and five green bubbles that represent its popularity relative to other content. To Pierson, this rewards excellent posts without creating the harmful competition for likes and follows inherent to Instagram and Twitter.

Pierson reached out to bloggers and stylists she admired to amass her network of sources. As of now, these producers are not paid for their content to preserve Springpop’s goal of spreading positivity in a genuine way. Pierson is still looking for more producers to feature on her app.

Pierson relayed the significance Springpop has to her: “We’re all super busy; we all get really stressed out, so I wanted to create something where anyone could go on and have a little bit of inspiration. I've found that it really helps."