There's a new iOS app for those who cringe at the thought of running into people they connect with via social media in the real world. It's called Cloak, and it warns users when undesirable acquaintances are nearby.
The app, which keeps track of these acquaintances' locations using their updates on Instagram and Foursquare, touts that it is "incognito mode for real life," according to Sam Rowe at The Telegraph.
Cloak removes "the 'social' from social media by following everyone you know, from your friends to you ex-girlfriends and that-bloke-you-met-a-party-once," Rowe said.
Brian Moore, Cloak's creative director, started thinking about creating the app after he moved to New York and bumped into his ex-girlfriend four times in six months, according to Newsweek.
He is surprised by Cloak's popularity. "We’ve got over a hundred thousand users already, which has been pretty mind-blowing," said Moore.
Derek Markham at Treehugger has mixed feelings about Cloak and the anti-social app trend.
"In the light of our habit of oversharing, and of connecting to people on social media that we wouldn't otherwise hang out with, some part of this anti-social app makes sense to me, because we don't always want to connect in real life with everyone in our social network," Markham said. "However, it really does beg the question of why we want to connect with others in the digital world, while wishing we could avoid them in the physical world."
Whether helping people avoid real-world encounters is beneficial or not, Chris Baker, another of the app's creators, said more anti-social tools like Cloak will soon appear.
"Personally, I think we’ve seen the crest of the big social network," Baker told The Washington Post. "Things like Twitter and Facebook are packed elevators where we’re all crammed in together. I think anti-social stuff is on the rise. You’ll be seeing more and more of these types of projects."