When I turned on my four year old iPhone for the first time in a few days, it nagged me that five apps had updates waiting. When I clicked on the App Store icon, what should I see on the home page but the screen at the right, featuring an app called Wattpad, informing me that “The Next Big Literary Wizard Is Gay”, and inviting me to “Check out Wattpad, the content platform elevating LGBTQ+ authors.”
Gee, I thought, or would like to think, that the “next big literary wizard” will be whoever tells the most compelling stories, not based on how they choose to occupy part of their time whilst not scribbling.
What is odd is that when you visit the Wattpad site, it is not positioned as a gay+whatever venue, but rather a mainstream platform which purports to cater to interests including ChickLit, Diverse Lit, Spiritual, Teen Fiction, Vampire, and “Creepypasta”, whatever that is. I would never have guessed from the featured image on the App Store. I wonder how many readers who are not “LGBTQ+” or not people of the oddly diverse colours shown (orange, blue, purple, red, and Simpsons yellow) are going to assume this site is not for them and never look at it again.
What would happen if somebody started a site called “HetCats”, with a tag line “the content platform elevating straight authors” and a poster showing cartoon faces in several shades of white, then tried to promote it on the App Store?