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Anti-social Media: Hell is Other People helps you avoid ‘friends’

Anti-social Media: Hell is Other People

So, the social media is supposed to bring you closer to friends, family and like-minded people around the world, right? Here’s an experience in social media that will help you avoid people.

Called “an experiment in anti-social media,” Hell is Other People will allow you to position yourself far away from your “friends”. The service will take your Foursquare credentials to locate your friends, calculating a location “optimally” so that you can avoid even the remotest chance of bumping into them.

Avoid your 'friends' easily

Avoid your “friends” easily

The app’s founder Scott Garner shows off the “effectiveness” of these so-called safe zones in a video. He documents his trips around the city where he bumps into, well, nobody. Garner even expresses his angst at people not checking-in on a particular day.

This is precisely the flaw that stops Hell is Other People from being a full-fledged service. The premise of the app is that you have enough people on your Foursquare, who check in pretty much everywhere they go and a majority of them are in the same city as you. There is a possibility of still bumping into people you know while walking on the road.

Garner writes that this app is partially a satire inspired by No Exit, an existential play by Jean-Paul Sartre and partially a commentary on his disdain for “social media”. It came into being as an exploration of his difficulties with social anxieties.

The app is powered by the Foursquare API and maps in it are generated by Google Maps API with custom styling. The map decked all in black shows the location of your friends as orange spots and shows “safe” locations in green. Unfortunately, a couple of safe locations based on my friends’ check-ins were in the middle of the Arabian Sea and Sanjay Gandhi National Park. At least, I will have animals and amphibians for company.

You can try Hell is Other People if you’re feeling a particular need to keep away from friends. You can also throw a bedsheet over your head in your bedroom and pretend to live in a castle made of cushions instead.


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