How does one go about trying to make the world a happier place?

Not long ago, I undertook this mission by creating my own social media network and discovered that happiness isn’t always what it seems.

Happiness can be thought of as the result of a collection of moments that you live, share, and (hopefully) remember. But it’s different for everyone because the types of moments that make you happy often change as you evolve.

As I thought about what happiness means to me, I kept thinking about the World Happiness Report, a recent study commissioned by the United Nations that noted a direct relationship between happiness and healthiness. This means that while you are focusing on being a happy person, you are also, whether you realize it or not, taking steps to improve your health.

Knowing that happiness and healthiness go hand in hand, how can we ignite happiness in others?

Is happiness a "niche" product?

Many have speculated about the future of social media, particularly the trend toward more tightly focused, or niche, communities. Whereas mainstream media used to appeal to the most people possible, the new focus is more about communicating directly and intimately with a smaller and more specific group.

With these thoughts and trends in mind, I began to imagine a niche network focused specifically on happiness, and from that created the microblogging social media network, Happy Fuel.

At first it seemed strange to create a targeted group around something that seemed so universal. But the simple fact is that happiness is a choice and sometimes we all need to actively choose to be in a happy place. The goal of Happy Fuel is to make people aware of their own happiness, and then fuel this happiness forward to their friends and family in the form of photos, videos, places, songs, sounds, and thoughts.

Celebrating happiness in real time

Once the Happy Fuel mobile and web apps launched in 2013, the next goal was to create a live, face-to-face happiness experience.

As part of this year’s Internet Week New York, the Happy Fuel team created a real-time, experiential version of the happiness guests can share on Happy Fuel.  

The large room was adorned with sights and sounds designed to promote and inspire sharable happiness on Happy Fuel and other social media sites.

Happiness takes many forms, and so did the event, with live flamenco music and themed cookies. Guests could also sit and relax with friends among surfboards on a “happy beach” or get a free massage.

By creating a multimedia happiness experience that was joyful, authentic, and visceral, visitors felt the happiness and compelled to share this happiness with others, both in person and through social networks such as Happy Fuel.

It appears happiness is indeed contagious.

Social networks can be a means to a happy end

Happy Fuel puts a positive spin on the collecting and sharing functionality of social networks. After all, there are more than enough ways to share and receive negative information these days, so why not filter it out? The idea of a happiness-based social network may be a niche idea now, but perhaps one day it won’t be!  




 


Elizabeth Elfenbein

Elizabeth Elfenbein is the founder and creator of Happy Fuel LLC, which represents her vision in creating a new form of media – what Elizabeth calls “happy media.” Happy Fuel is a microblogging social network that helps users “live in the happy” by giving them a fun, simple way to discover, store, gauge, and fuel their happiness, whether via a song, photo, video, place, sound or thought.

Elizabeth is a creative leader and Partner at The CementBloc, the most creatively awarded health/wellness communications company in the United States. She is also the Editor in Chief of HealthWellNext, an industry-first publication from The Bloc that offers a refreshing point of view on the challenges and opportunities facing the health and wellness industry and how it communicates with customers. Additionally, Elizabeth leads the Wet Cement Innovation Lab at The Bloc, a platform for thought leadership that drives events, publishes, and creates digital prototypes that propel success for brands.

Elizabeth is part of The Opener, an exclusive, invite-only contributor network that will bring the best food, culture, and innovation writing to the pages of Coca-Cola Journey.