London - Are you fed up with social networking and bored of people “checking in” every hour of the day with Foursquare at some location you really couldn't care less about? If so you're in luck because there's now a new anti-social network called Hell is Other People.
Most social networks are designed to help you connect with your friends (or online admirers) but Hell is Other People promises to keep you as far away from your pesky online friends (and genuine ones) as possible. To keep you off-grid, the app takes your friends' check-in data from your Foursquare account and then works out “optimally-distanced locations” to make sure you don't bump into any of them on your way around town.
Designed by developer Scott Garner, who describes it as “partially satire, partially a commentary on my disdain for 'social media',” it highlights various “safe zones” on a specially adapted Google Maps screen and gives you critical information on your friends' check-in so you, you know, don't have to actually see them. Of course, this does depend entirely on your friends actually checking in to Foursquare regularly enough, but with more than 30 million people worldwide using the app there's obviously some potential there.
Garner, who is a masters student at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program and describes himself as “basically unemployable in a conventional sense”, does seem to realise one hitch in his app. In an online video tutorial for the site, he takes an afternoon stroll around New York - the only city it is currently available for - and says: “Most frustrating of all is that nobody is checking in today. I hate doing things that depend on other people because they are so unpredictable and unreliable.”
Perhaps that's why it's described as more of an art project than a functional app.
There's one awkward real-world conversation that Garner hasn't accounted for either. What happens when your best mate asks why he hasn't seen you in your local for months?. - The Independent