Everything social networking has taught us in the last decade is that we’re meant to keep our friends (and sometimes enemies) close – even digitally. Now there’s a “social network” (if you can call it that) flipping the idea of using these platforms to connect on its head. Actually, it’s bashing that idea in the head.
This anti-social network of sorts is aptly named Hell is Other People and was developed by Scott Garner, who describes it as a way to reflect your utter hate for all things social networking – whether you’re kidding or not. “This project is partially a satire, partially a commentary on my disdain for ‘social media,’ and partially an exploration of my own difficulties with social anxiety,” he explains.
Regardless of the app’s existence as something of a commentary on the state of the social Web, there are practical applications for Hell is Other People. It’s a very simple concept: Sign into your Foursquare account so you can know the exact areas not to go to, since your friends would be around. If you’d actually use this app in earnest, the last thing you want is to bump into said “friends” and have to suffer through superficial chatter anyway. We’ve seen the handful of apps that help you “randomly” run into your acquaintances – well, this one does exactly the opposite.
You know those times when the idea of running into someone you know sounds worse than pulling your fingernails out individually? Well, if you do, then you might want to download Hell is Other People.
What’s interesting about this implementation of the anti-social network is that Hell is Other People doesn’t just tell you where your friends are by way of check ins, but it also maps out “safe zones,” or areas where you’d be unlikely to bump into said friends.
Since the app claims to be an experiment in anti-social media, it may never make it past the conceptual stage and implement support for other location-based services like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, which all support location features. What might also be interesting is to pull the EXIF data from your friend’s shared smartphone images to figure out when and where they’ve snapped the photo. Of course, if all of these apps were looped in, maybe you’d be stuck at home because there was threat of a friend-sighting at every turn.
Even though we’re living in a socially connected world and encouraged to engage with even the loosest of acquaintances, maybe this app and others like it can help us get a reality check as to whether we really need to know where our friends are at all times.
If you want to check out the app in action, you should watch the video below: