It’s no question that the main purpose of social media and its various platforms is to connect people. But can those very same platforms provide you with tools to help you avoid the people you’ve connected with?
It seems counterintuitive, but the makers of an app named Cloak attempt to do just that. The app connects with your current social media accounts and uses your friends’ most recent check-ins to plot them on a map, showing where they are in relation to you. Created by programmer Brian Moore and former Buzzfeed creative director Chris Baker, the app currently taps in to your Foursquare and Instagram with plans to add others.
“Personally, I think we’ve seen the crest of the big social network,” Baker wrote in an e-mail to the Washington Post. “I think anti-social stuff is on the rise. You’ll be seeing more and more of these types of projects.”
According to the Post, Baker and Moore say their work isn’t meant as a parody; it should be used as a tool. However, that is hard to believe considering someone who is truly anti-social would probably not have a social media account to begin with, much less one that allows you to check-in places. You can even take it one step further and posit that a truly anti-social person wouldn’t be going out in public unless out of sheer necessity.
Mainly due for the aforementioned reasons above, the target audience for this app is not that big. However, the app does let you flag specific people, so it could be of use if you’re trying to avoid running into an annoying ex or one of your many frenemies. It could also help you in those times when you don’t want people you know to see what you’re doing.
What’s funny is that the more practical use of this app would actually be the opposite of its intended use – tracking people down. This app also makes it easier if you want to “randomly bump into” your longtime crush, run into someone who owes you money, etc. While it’s easy to see that as a cynical view, keep in mind that this is exactly what Foursquare and Facebook’s check-in feature does, especially the former’s “nearby friends” filtering option. Cloak just puts everyone on a map. It maybe only be a matter of time before Foursquare and other follow suit with a similar feature.
Source: Washington Post