B.J. Novak Launches The List App... And I got to be a Beta Tester


Keeping this secret has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I have a sharing problem (follow me on insta and you know that already.) But photos are one thing, at the end of the day I'm a writer. Here's my profile page. In 3 months on the app I wrote upwards of 50 lists.  Last night before the launch, lists were deleted. Inside jokes were solidified to be outside jokes. We prepared for the whole world to rumble in (and you should! Download the app here) and ruin what some described as summer camp, but which will feel to me like "the secret, awesome way my friend Gabi helped me find a new outlet for all my joys and fears while recovering from my mastectomy."

My love of the list app was so deep it started to surpass my blog writing. When I came up with a new idea... it was often in list form.  There is something about this format that just sparked my creativity when I was feeling especially down - hurting, tired, disconnected, hollowed out (mentally and literally physically.) Blogging is hard work, but writing a list felt easier. Not limiting but more like an organizational ladder for my chaotic, narcotic and pain laced brain. It was training wheels on the bicycle I was using to teach myself to walk again. Also, it was funny as hell.

Because The List App was created by B.J. Novak. Yes, that B.J. Novak. From the office. It's early days were populated with basically the funniest humans on the planet. Minday Kaling, Lena Dunham, Gabi Moskowitz, even Rowan Blanchard and John Mayer. Everyone was being funny, but also authentic and honest. It was an internet free of trolls but filled with some of the brightest minds.


There were times when all I wanted was a to write a list for the app, but mostly I needed my mom to be able to see it. She has an android, so inviting her to the beta was a nightmare I could not contemplate. Instead had to settle for sharing on a less appropriate format, like Instagram. I'm still obsessed with instagram but I am not a photographer, much as I wish I were. I was never going to be a shining star in this format. Like, I just want to post all the pictures from a night out with my girls where they look particularly hot and I'm having a good hair/face/outfit day. That is not my calling.

Maybe, writing lists is. 

I am just so proud of everything I have created on this app so far. There are useful lists, like:



But there are also lists that are more like stories, painful-hard-to-tell-stories that get all twisted up by the deep emotions that they hold. Something about writing a list untangles them - which may be why HOW I FOUND OUT I HAD CANCER is the most popular list I have published so far. Stories need a little structure, and I found my voice in a new way when I stopped staring a big, white, empty blog box.

So, when I started there were about 2,000 people on the App, and it was an amazing open community. People were being funny, smart, real, useful. They were sharing recipes, stories about their lives, inside jokes and books to read. I would raise my hand and ask a question, and a writer from Hello Giggles would answer. I was getting a lot of 100 emojis and likes, which made me feel like getting 100% on a test, only the person grading it was @john (aka John Mayer.) or @bjnovak or some other person who's song/book/tv show writing had made me feel a powerful emotion.

So while everyone else in the beta felt like they were at camp, I felt like I was in some kind of digital writers paradise. Like being at an amazing development conference and being picked to read your piece out loud to the group. Taught by the funniest and coolest people in the world, and then handed the mic.


That time Lena Dunham called me a babe 


Tonight at Midnight the list app launched to the public. I imagine soon it will be like the undulating fields of twitter and instagram. So much stuff! So many things! But  I don't hate this - I can't wait to learn from everyone and I think there's something about this format that could inspire people to do amazing, creative things. I plan to devour all the lists I can.

I won't be at a private party with luminaries and celebrities anymore. The author of a book I'm reading might not favorite my list. I know that opening up the List App might mean that my list crushes like @lenadunham and @LennonParham might not be giving me advice on where to get lunch anymore or calling me a babe.



But.... it does mean that I can share my lists with everybody.

While it was cool to be a part of such an exclusive, talented, funny cohort of writers, journalists, fashion bloggers, celebs,  doctors, people with other amazing jobs and the various and sorted glitterati -  the best part of being a beta in the list app was getting to write lists that I hope will someday reach and help a lot of people. I got to create the kind of content I love to create - random, inspired, researched, but also short and easy to digest and nothing like this rambling blog post.


I hope that you will follow me, @dena on The List App. I hope you will add to my + lists (that means they are open to public contributions! such a cool feature!)  and maybe even send me lots of requests for lists. I'm sorry in advance for the three days of your life you will probably lose when you fall down this rabbit hole.

 I have also saved some of my favorite lists, which you can find by clicking on the floppy disk icon on my profile. Here you'll find the list where I discovered Rosehound Apparel Pins (from @lenadunham), my favorite @JeremyPivot lists (he's hilarious), and a whole bunch of other amazing lists including recipes, places to eat, books to read and so much more.

Some other people to definitely follow:
@gabimoskowitz for amazing, easy, inexpensive dinners
@evan for funny smart fashion advice for men (dorks or otherwise)
@steve my husband, who is hilarious in list form
@listsbyzoe who is just basically a rockstar in all the things
 @sophiec who helped me write the funniest thing I have ever written...
WHAT SOPHIE & I WOULD CALL OUR MOVING COMPANY

Can't wait to connect with you on the Listapp.
xoxo
@dena