Whether you’re part of the anti-social media movement or just long for the early days of authenticity, the minutiae app is everything you’ve been looking for and you might just learn a few things about yourself along the way.
A few years ago, I wrote about minutiae as I was part way into my journey. Here’s a quick refresher about what this Apple and Android app is all about.
What is minutiae?
minutiae is an app available through the App Store or Google Play. Once installed and subscribed, you get alerts at some point during the day, each day, to stop, drop, and grab a photo.
You don’t pose. You don’t filter. You don’t even get a do-over. The idea is snap a real portrait of exactly what is going on in your life at that exact moment.
What do you get in return? The ability to see that exact moment through the eyes of a stranger. Once you’ve added your photo, you’ll be shown that same moment in time for someone else subscribed to the app. It could be in Madison, Wisconsin or Moscow, Russia.
You’ll have the ability to briefly scroll through their feedback until the app times out and their feed is closed to you. In fact, your feed is closed to you. You aren’t meant to ruminate over any of these moments. Until you reach 1440.
The significance of 1440
There are 1440 minutes in every single day. minutiae is designed to capture one of those minutes in time every single day. You just never know which minute it will be. You’ll miss some and you’ll capture some. That’s all part of the process.
And when those 1440 minutes are over, over the course of 1440 days, your project ends.
If you’re trying to do the math, that’s 3.95 years. Almost four years of photos of the minutiae of daily life.
I recently completed my 1440 cycle and made some pretty interesting observations worth sharing.
My minutiae by the numbers
You know how you look at someone’s Instagram feed or Facebook posts and you think, gosh, it looks like they are always having a good time. Or it looks like they’re always going someplace fun. Or their family seems so happy.
Whatever is your trigger, you’ve undoubtedly and inadvertently created a narrative in your head about someone you know. I know people have done that about me. I’m always quick to remind them that what we show on social media is the highlight reel.
Here’s the proof.
I recently downloaded all of my photos after my project cycle ended (something you can do if you’re so inclined). I had less than 1440 because many of the minutiae moments happened during the night when I was sleeping, or I simply missed the alert. I also had a software glitch that kept me from snapping pictures for a good year or two in the middle of the project. But you’ll still get the idea.
I took the 408 photos I had captured and organized them into logical buckets. These buckets define the bulk of my day to day.
Around Town: 41
These photos were typically of me running errands, at the grocery story, watching my son play tennis, shopping at Target, etc. The basic day to day stuff we all do and don’t think much of. I now have a record of that.
Don’t look at me funny. You know you take your phone in the bathroom too. Sometimes I was IN the bathroom but mostly I was standing in front of the mirror getting ready for the day.
I spend a lot of time with my phone while I’m laying in bed. There are a lot of pictures of the clock (who knows why I was up in the middle of the night) and my messy dresser. But I know from other people’s photos, I don’t have the only messy bedroom out there!
This one makes me a little sad. But let’s face it. Most of our lives these days are spent in front of the computer. All my work is done on my computer so it makes sense that I’d have a lot of my pictures of my workspace.
That doesn’t mean I don’t spend a lot of time with. my family. It just means they only made it into the shot 14 times. They were most likely with me on my errands or at least in the house while I was working. But there’s another reason they don’t appear that often…
Pets are family and, let’s face it, they’re usually more photogenic. So they typically become the subject of a shot when I’m just hanging out somewhere in the house.
These pics cover cooking and eating. I’m actually surprised this number isn’t bigger because 1440 days can mean 4320 meals!
Miscellaneous House: 9
Not people, not pets, not food. Just random pictures from various locations in the house.
Hmmmm. Maybe I should be doing more laundry.
Legs and Feet: 10
These are pretty typical pictures not only for my project, but for others as well. I seem to spend a lot of time sitting on the couch and my legs are just there, asking to be photographed.
Out to Eat: 9
I do love to go out to eat but I only seemed to capture 8 different moments of restaurant eating.
Most of these are spent out in my backyard but a few were from my front yard or even while I was on a walk.
Usually at home, these are activities that have a start and end. A painting or remodeling project. A puzzle. A mosaic.
You may look at that number and really think that I am fortunate. And I am, This captures times I went to Romania, Florida, Chicago, New York. But also the aquarium or the local fair. Travel can be big or small.
I watched TV way more than 19 times but only 19 times did I choose to capture the TV screen for the app.
Reflections on the minutiae
I love that I can recall taking almost every single photo. And I can remember that the longer the project lasted, the more likely I was to try to capture something more interesting than, say, my computer screen again. It’s in our nature to make things seem more interesting.
But I’m glad I have these moments. I have a few moments back with my mom. I can recall when my son was obsessed with Brooklyn 99. I have a picture of the amazing Italian bakery in Fishkill, New York that finally closed up.
There’s only one photo that I can’t categorize. i don’t know where it is or what it is. So maybe that’s a moment for the ages.
The big moments are amazing but the little moments make up most of our lives. Be sure to stop and appreciate them.
Quick note on BeReal
Some of you make think that minutiae is simply offering the same thing as BeReal, the French app that has recently gained popularity for showing real life, one photo, one day at a time.
BeReal is the simplest photo sharing app to share once a day your real life in photo with friends.
Every day at a different time, everyone captures a photo within 2 minutes.
Capture and post in time to discover what your Friends are up to.
minutiae is not about friends. It’s not about sharing with others. It has a different end game. It’s an art project that you’re a part of. And most importantly, your data is your business.
Data sharing for BeReal
Data sharing for minutiae