Anti-Social Network: Cloak

St. Scholastica's Student Newspaper
The Cable
By: Anna Wetter  - Student Journalist -
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While many people are trying to re-connect with old friends or stay in contact with current friends via social media, there's also an equally large population of people who simply want to avoid people. Let me introduce the Cloak app for iPhone - this app pulls in location check-ins from your contacts' Instagram and Foursquare accounts and then maps out the positions of people based on their most recent postings so you can avoid them at all costs. Cloak's tagline, "Incognito mode for real life", gives the impression that you're a super sleuth-like spy as opposed to the harsh reality of simply wanting to be socially awkward without anyone bothering you.

With this app, there's a layout of a map with an assortment of bubbles on it. Click on a bubble and you'll see a person's name, location, and how long ago he or she checked in there. Not only does this app show you where people are, it also lets you set up push alerts for those you'd prefer to avoid like exes, that one person who can't take a hint, or maybe even everybody on your contacts list if you're feeling especially hateful towards humanity that day.

The two creators, Brian Moore and Chris Baker, created this app because " we've reached the point of social fatigue - too many networks with too much information, all the time... it's OK to turn off and pick up a copy of ‘Walden' and just be alone." While this app only works with Foursquare and Instagram right now, the developers are hoping to add Facebook soon and possibly Twitter in the near future.

One of the downsides with this app is that I feel like this could make stalking someone markedly easier. While trying to be alone is the main point of this app, simply flip it around and now you have pin-point locations on where people on your contact list are at and how to find them. Nothing quite screams anti-social like having a map of where everyone is. Also, in order to figure out where your contacts are, they need to be the type to update Instagram or Foursquare very frequently.

Whether you're trying to avoid an ex or simply want to be alone for the day with no unexpected run-ins with people, Cloak could be the app for you. Or you could just be like the rest of us and make as little eye contact as possible and walk swiftly away when faced with the unfortunate circumstance of running into an ex. Besides, what's life if it's not beautifully awkward?