Social Life: The anti-social network

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Cloak - Incognito mode for real life
Cloak - Incognito mode for real life

An anti-social network? More changes to Twitter? And pictures of New Zealand? Why it must be time for Paul Harper's weekly social media blog! Hurray!

The anti-social network

I'm going to make a confession: I've crossed the road to avoid people I know. People from high school, people I used to work with, people who I'm Facebook "friends" with, ex-girlfriends - anyone who bumping into will result in awful small talk. I hate small talk. Clearly I'm not the only one, because a US company have created Cloak.

Cloak is an app designed to give you "incognito mode in real life".

"Avoid exes, co-workers, that guy who likes to stop and chat - anyone you'd rather not run into," Cloak's website reads.

"Cloak scrapes Instagram and Foursquare to let you know where all your friends, "friends," and nonfriends are at all times so you never have to run into that special someone. Think of it as the antisocial network."

Users log in to Instagram and Foursquare, and the produces a map showing where your friends are, based on their latest logins. You can flag those want to avoid, and get an alert when they're within a certain radius of you.

Programmer Brian Moore and Buzzfeed's former creative director Chris Baker are behind the project.

"I think we've seen the crest of the big social network," Baker told the Washington Post. "I think anti-social stuff is on the rise. You'll be seeing more and more of these types of projects."

The developers plan to add more social media networks in the future, but Twitter won't be one of them.

"Well, the location data just isn't there," the developers explain on the app's iTunes store page. "Most users have it turned off and even when it's on, it's quite vague."

Because the app only currently uses two social networks, and because a lot of social media users do not use location data switched off or would not check in frequently, I do doubt how effective the app would be. However judging from some of the reviews, it does seem to work well for some users. Perhaps instead we should learn how to be mature in our interactions with people we don't want to talk to. Or cross the street.

Tips for avoiding exes, former colleagues, school mates, etc:

- Always wear dark glasses. A large-brimmed hat helps too.
- Listen to loud music through earphones so you can pretend not to notice people.
- Do not leave your house. Ever.

Everything is or isn't changing with Twitter

A day doesn't seem to pass without speculation of some disastrous upcoming change to Twitter, confirmation of said changes, or news that feared changes are not occurring. I'm too lazy to detail all I've seen recently, but here are few:

According to a BuzzFeed report, @-replies and hashtags may be on the way out.

TechCrunch reports that Twitter is testing a new timeline called "Fave People" which will allow users to track their favourite Twitter accounts, essentially a "more user-friendly version of Twitter's 'Lists'".

The New York Times reports that Twitter is rolling out a in-line video feature to make it easier to watch video on users' phones.

And Mashable reports that one recent change some users have experienced (including myself), is not a change - it's a bug.

Some things of course never change, like your first tweet. To mark Twitter's 8th birthday, Twitter has created a new tool to allow users to step down memory lane, and see how pathetic their first tweet was. Check it out here.

Conservagram

I wouldn't expect a government department would have my favourite Instagram account, but that just may well be the case. The Department of Conservation use their account to document the conservation work their staff do, and in doing so illustrate just how special our country is. Worth a follow.



If you've seen any great Kiwi Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Twitter, Youtube or Pinterest accounts that deserve wider attention, or know of a cool online project or campaign that deserves a plug, let me know me. Suggestions are always welcome. I'm on Twitter here, Instagram here and Vine here. You can also email me here. Send abuse here.

- NZ Herald

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