TORONTO – If there is anything that social media has taught us over the last few years it’s to embrace our inner social butterflies.
But there seems to be a trend emerging in social media apps that encourage people to embrace their anti-social sides. These apps use location data from popular social networking apps to show users where their friends (or enemies) are hanging out in order to dodge unwanted encounters.
Ditch your friend for other plans and need to make sure you don’t run into them? There’s an app for that. Don’t want to run into your ex and their new beau? There’s an app for that too.
Split, recently released for iOS and Android users, helps “avoid unwanted encounters” by using location data from social networks to create a real-time map of the area they are travelling through.
Users are able to add contacts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare to their “avoid” list. If someone they are trying to avoid checks in on a social network in the area, the app alerts the user with a series of red arrows leading them away from any awkward interactions.
“The idea for Split was born on a frustrating night, about a year ago, when I ran into my ex-girlfriend in a barr,” said Udi Dagan, one of the creators of the app.
“After a few awkward minutes, I hurriedly gathered my friends out of there and into another pub down the street, where I literally bumped (that’s right, SMACK!) into another ex… Not a good night.”
Split will also send alerts when someone on your “Avoid” list says they are attending the same event as you.
It will even tell you who your avoid list is hanging out with – in case you wanted to figure out who your ex is dating without lurking too much.
iOS users can also try Cloak – which uses Foursquare and Instagram to search for unwanted users in their area.
Simply flag whoever it is you don’t want to run in to and set an alert distance from half a block, to up to three kilometres away.
Unlike Split, Cloak only takes data from Instagram and Foursquare – however the developers of the app note on the App Store that they are working to include Facebook as a service.
There is even an app named “Hell is Other People,” released in 2013, that uses Foursquare data to help you avoid friends.
This begs the question, how did people avoid awkward confrontations before social media?
© Shaw Media, 2014