- TextEthan began as a way for Ethan to stay in touch with friends
- Strangers started downloading the app and asking questions
- Ethan now personally answers life's little quandaries
Everyone wants answers. And, for some strange reason, they think Ethan has them.
Ethan, in this case, is the creator of the TextEthan app.
Ethan, who told CNN via email he doesn't want his full name used out of privacy concerns, says he originally wrote the eponymous app as a way for his friends to get in touch with him.
It was a simple, novel idea that spiraled into something much bigger and more bizarre than that.
His friends started turning other friends onto it, then their friends found out and so on.
It's gotten so popular that Ethan says the app gets more than one download per minute.
He says his first email from someone he genuinely didn't know was from an anonymous girl saying she was a "princess from Pandora." They had a fantastical exchange about dwarves and love, and it signified to Ethan the moment when the app had truly gotten out in the wild.
"I thought there was something magical about the whole crazy conversation I had with a random person," he said.
Turns out, people liked the idea of silly, light-hearted conversations with a seemingly nice stranger. Ethan doesn't mind answering, and enjoyed chatting up these strangers, so he released TextEthan to the public. However, Ethan decided some ground rules were in order, which include:
-Ethan can't respond when he's asleep
-No emergency messages
-Don't ask Ethan to do your work
-Don't fall in love with Ethan
Now, people Ethan has never met are depending on him to help them address the minor conundrums of life: this dress or that one? Italian or Chinese? Stay home or work out?
Due to the attention, some people have even started pushing Ethan to see if he could build them their own app. It's possibly the next step in social software: from everyone on the same app to everyone with his or her own app.
As for Ethan, he recently crossed a new threshold: he'd been answering every question but finally succumbed to sleep and couldn't get to them all. Which may have led to another rule for users of the app: "Be patient. He'll respond eventually."