Back To The Future: One Intern’s Journey With Incubate

May 20, 2015

What is Incubate? Is it what Walt Disney did with his head? Why are there eggs everywhere? Is this like Futurama? No, no and no.

Incubate is its own isolated social experience where you can schedule messages to be sent in the future. Although you can sign up through Facebook, it doesn’t allow you to post messages there. Don’t be confused: This app is not Hootsuite. This difference here is that when you send a message, you’re limited to only people who have the app and you are friends on the app. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Capture your moment – This could be a picture, a video, a text message or more. There are tons of possibilities!

Step 2: Add friends – Just like all social networks, you need to have friends here – people you can send your messages to!

Step 3: Incubate – You set the time when this message will be delivered. Your message hatches out of an egg when it’s fully incubated and ready to join the world. Or, to at least your friend on the receiving end.

It’s definitely a reframing of how we interact. There’s no instant posting, instant “likes” or “favorites,” and no public broadcast about what a great time you were having at that very moment. It’s still tons of fun. There’s a lot that can be done with an app that sends messages to the future. Whether it’s birthday messages, letters to future you, silly surprises or sentimental reminders, the limits are virtually endless. For example, one may write a letter to themselves that will only open in five years. Your friends may be able to wake up to newly-hatched photos of themselves taken weeks before. And, once they hatch, they’re forever in the recipient’s and sender’s archives to look back at and discuss.

Incubate also has options for future generations. In the “Nursery,” the user can create an account for someone who isn’t old enough to create their own. This way, babies who are just tiny unfertilized eggs at this moment, will one day be able to open their smartphone (or smartwatch, or cybernetic implant) and receive messages from people alive and well now.

At first, it seemed this would be the perfect thing for a mom. Here’s an app that allows the user to send voice, video and text messages up to 25 years in the future. That’s such a parent/grandparent magnet! Finally, a chance to schedule a P.S. I Love You mush fest to anyone you hope to hold near and dear for the next 25 years or so.

The concept is enthralling. With articles on AdWeek and a Facebook page full of content that tugs at the heartstrings, it didn’t take much convincing to download it. I, for one, texted my mom right away and asked her to download the app. She, being the great mom she is, obliged.

Right now Incubate is small. It launched maybe a month ago. And, like all trendy new apps, us millennials create accounts with ease. As for my assumption with moms? So wrong. My mom sent a few messages, and attempted to grow accustomed to the app, but nothing ever really clicked.

Do you like this app?” she asked me, “I just dont get it. If I sent something to you and it couldnt be opened for five years, who even knows if this app will be around in five years.

Good point, mom.

So what do you think? Are you willing to try Incubate or do you think its goals are unrealistic?