It may seem like New York City, with its 9 million-plus residents, would be a pretty easy place to avoid seeing individuals you don’t like, but that’s not always the case. We’ve all had a strange run-in at one point or another (I once semi-randomly walked into the same train car as my sister) and the short explanation is that people of similar backgrounds tend to go to similar places.
Well, apparently, that was a major problem for serial avoider Brian Moore, who after moving to NYC kept running into an ex-girlfriend. Four times in six months was apparently too much for him. So Moore developed Cloak, an app that uses the location information from the Foursquare and Instagram accounts of “undesirables” to help its users avoid people they would rather not run into. When an undesirable starts closing in, the app alerts the user. How nice.
Now, let’s think about a few potential consequences: (1) You see someone you don’t like is nearby and now you have to take some circuitous route to avoid them or hide out in a Starbucks until they pass. (2) You decide to track a friend you actually like (for fun or what have you) and you discover that, no, they’re not chilling at home like they said. They’re hanging out with mutual friends and you weren’t invited. (3) You risk never learning how to deal with uncomfortable situations. Good luck surviving without that skill set in NEW YORK CITY. (4) It only uses information from Instagram and Foursquare, which are not as widely used as say, Facebook. (5) You become a veritable stalker.
We could go on.
Moore insists that the app can be used for more positive reasons like “growing out your beard” in secret, going “to the grocery store without makeup on in your PJs” or using it to find out if people you actually like are nearby so you can set up spontaneous plans. But, let’s be real: this is largely, as Moore so cleverly puts it, “an anti-social network.”
If none of the aforementioned consequences faze you, then Cloak is available to download, for free, in the iTunes app store.
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