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"Hell is Other People:" The Anti-Social Media App

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    NEWSLETTERS

    So far we have all these social networks and apps for keeping track of friends and family: Facebook, Foursquare, Path, Google+, Glancee, Banjo or Highlight -- but what if we don't want to be found? That's when users need Hell is Other People, a new app that lets you be as anti-social as you want to be.

    Although it really only works as the anti-Foursquare, since it lets you avoid Foursquare friends, it's still a bit indicative of some of the population overwhelmed by giving out too much information. Creator Scott Garner explains to TIME, "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." 

    Foursquare users must log into the Hell Is Other People’s website to launch a Friend Map powered by Google Maps and Foursquare. The program them plots friends as orange dots based on their most recent check-ins, and then recommends a "safe distance" from them which is plotted with green dots. (Garner does include a video where he attempts to skirt his Foursquare friends in Manhattan as an anti-social experiment, but no one checks in and he just manages to tour all of the island's little-known parks.)
    While the app is likely effective, wouldn't it simply be easier to just quit using Foursquare? In some ways, Garner is trying to say that people experience social pressure to be part of social media, so they partake in it. The only problem is then they need a socially acceptable way out, and that generally is something a little passive-aggressive like Hell is Other People.

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