Popular app motivates students to drink water

As the app that combines advocacy for healthier living with fun, Plant Nanny has spread rapidly throughout campus. It is an app that encourages its users to drink more water by rewarding them with virtual plants, and the idea has taken hold here at Northwestern.

Plant Nanny compares the amount of water a person drinks every day to how much they should be drinking. The user logs how much water they drank that day and, if it is enough, it keeps their virtual plants alive and happy.

“The app provides graphs to show how much you’re drinking compared to how much water you should be consuming, and the graphs were a bit eye-opening for me,” senior Danielle Rossell said. “For the first couple of days, my bar graph was nowhere near the level it should have been, and my plant was wilted and dying because I wasn’t drinking enough. That information, along with the incentive of growing a healthy and happy plant, has challenged me to start drinking the proper amount of water each day.”

Rossell is not the only one who has joined the trend.

“My resident assistant Shelby Maznio told me about it so I decided to try it out,” freshman Reghan Harms said. “It’s actually really fun, too.”

Hearing about the app from another student on campus seems to be the way most students who have the app found out about it.

“My RA, Beth Benschoter, told me about the app at lunch one day and convinced me to download it,” Rossell said.

NW’s campus is not the only place that seems to like the app. According to the Apple App Store, Plant Nanny has been downloaded over 1,000,000 times, it was given the title of Best App of 2013 and it is ranked number one in more than 10 countries including Germany and Brazil. Of 2,167 reviews, around two-thirds gave the app five out of five stars.

It is very apparent that the app has had a lot of success, but is it the most popular one on campus? Different people will say different things. Still, out of 17 people interviewed, nine of them put Instagram in their top three favorite apps, and 11 of them said Snapchat.

“I find Snapchat to be a very popular app because it is a fun, new way to communicate among friends,” freshman Derrick Jansen said. “I think Snapchat will continue to be popular until some other messaging app comes along that is more fun or more interactive.”

On the Apple App Store, Snapchat is ranked as number four on the top charts for all free apps, and Instagram is ranked as number two, the only app above it being Bitmoji.

According to Time Magazine, Apple released its annual best-of-the-year lists for 2016, and the most-downloaded free iPhone app is Snapchat, which moved up from number five on last year’s list and replaced Trivia Crack in the number one slot. Facebook Messenger remained the second most-downloaded app, while Pokémon Go was the third, taking Dubsmash’s spot from 2015.

Facebook, Twitter and Netflix were also mentioned as popular and most-used apps on NW’s campus.

Now the question is, will these apps stay on top in 2017, or will something else replace them? Is this recent Plant Nanny craze just a phase, or is it here to stay?