Let's just say — hypothetically speaking — that you're on your way to a meeting that you're already late for and you make a quick pit stop for some coffee to see you through your day when suddenly you bump into the volunteer coordinator at your child's school. You know the quickest way to end the conversation is to agree to help with the next fundraiser or bake sale, but you also know that you may seriously live to regret that decision.
a) Politely listen to the volunteer pitch and offer to check your schedule, knowing full well that the time spent adhering to social norms will cost you big time at the office?
b) Cut her off mid-sentence with some lame excuse about being really late, knowing full well that your status as social pariah will stay with you for the remaining years until your child heads off to college?
c) Avoid the coffee stop because you know full well that it could put you in this socially awkward position?
If you chose the third answer, you are probably a user of the new anti-social app called Cloak. Unlike most apps and social media tools available today, the goal of Cloak isn't to help get your connected with your friends, family, and colleagues. It's to help you avoid them.
Cloak utilizes users' Instagram and Foursquare data to give you a better idea of where folks in your community are, so that if you're not feeling particularly social or want to avoid a certain person for some reason, you can do so easily.
The Cloak app generates a map of contacts relative to the user's location. Those that are deemed undesirable — say an ex-boyfriend or your old boss — are "flagged" so that an alert will be sent whenever that person is nearby.
The catch is that those 'undesirables' have to make frequent check-ins on social media, particularly on Foursquare and Instagram, for the geolocating feature to work. While you're at it, you might as well check-in with these services too. It's the polite thing to do for those looking to avoid you at the coffee stop.
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