Everyday voyeur: App offers a peek into strangers’ lives

21.05.2014 Slowcial Media : Identity : Anonymous
20 Day Stranger app

Boston – Playful Systems, a research group at the MIT Media Lab and the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values, has collaborated on a new app that enables strangers to live another person’s life through a smartphone for 20 days. 

Today people are happy to share their lives via smartphone images, but the curated feeds of Instagram and Facebook don’t show the full picture. In the 20 Day Stranger app, information is collected from someone’s smartphone throughout the day using its GPS and then images are gathered from the internet and sent to the app’s user. So instead of sharing your morning latte art, a stranger will be able to see the café you went to from Google Images or Foursquare and the route you took to go to work. The locations and identity of the subject remain anonymous.

‘We’re trying to provide just enough of your life to the recipient to allow someone to imagine it without providing actual information – it’s something between information and imagination,’ Kevin Slavin director of Playful Systems tells Fast Co Exist.

The app enables users to embrace anonymity and live as close to a stranger’s life without any sharing and without a filtered self-aggrandising view. The founders hope it will encourage greater empathy in people. For more about social media apps that are focused more on relationships than likes, read our Slow-cial Media microtrend.

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