If the notion of Big Brother makes you feel safe rather than suspicious, this new social network is perfect for you. But if you’re like the majority of the NSA-hating, surveillance-fearing population of the United States, prepare to feel your skin crawl.
Follower brands itself as “a service that grants you a real-life Follower for a day,” ensuring that you don’t go unnoticed. So if you ever feel like a wallflower, here’s your solution — have “someone that watches, someone that sees you, someone who cares.”
The network’s website, a stark black background with bold white text, is truly indicative of the rather alarming nature of the site (and companion app). As you scroll down, you’re confronted by what looks like footage that belongs in the opening sequence of a horror film, as a woman is shown through her window keeping a journal, washing dishes, and otherwise going about her day. Venture even further, and you’ll get to Follower’s “How Does It Work” page, the real coup d’etat in creepiness. The rather selective social network isn’t for just anyone — in fact, you have to apply to be followed, and only if you’re selected will you receive a link to download a related iPhone app.
Then, Follower instructs, “Install it and await your following.” On the morning of your following (yes, that’s really what it’s called), you’ll receive a notification, and then, the site says, “Your Follower will be with you all day—within your consciousness but just beyond your sight—following, observing, appreciating each moment, without interfering.”
At day’s end, the terror really reaches its zenith — “Your Follower will leave you with one photo to remember.”
Throughout your following, you’ll be notified through a series of updates by way of the iOS app, which depending on your mindset, could either be comforting or seriously alarming.
The project is the product of artist and NYU faculty member Lauren McCarthy, who currently serves as the app’s only Follower. “There’s something both exciting and intense I feel each morning not knowing where they may take me. I follow them all day watching, starting to imagine what they are like, what they are thinking and saying, trying to guess where they might go next,” she said in an interview with Creative Applications. “There is something strangely intimate about the whole thing for me. By the end of the day, I feel as though I know them, and we have had a prolonged experience together.