Apps for Introverts
I just noticed a new little icon on the corner of my Google Plus input field. It looks like a map pin. A hover tells me that my ‘browser does not support adding my location’. This does not bother me at all- in fact, it gratifies me. I am apparently one of the rare people who not only disdains location-based applications, but actively -even proactively -avoids them.
I don’t want people to know where I am, unless we’re specifically meeting. I will never socially ‘check in’ anywhere, and I am not interested in who might be nearby running the same app. I am not cruising, grinding, dating, lonely, curious, or otherwise interested in meeting strangers. Plus, there’s that creepy stalker vibe- who the heck would be interested in my whereabouts? I am not sure I would want to meet such a person unarmed. Instead, I will mind my own business, and- polite, normal interaction excepted- I expect you to mind yours, as well. I expect that this sounds almost heretical, coming from a self-professed geek. But let’s drill down a bit, shall we?
These location based social applications are products of an extraverted world full of social butterflies who live in high-population urban areas, particularly San Francisco. A perusal of the people who do the most shouting about these apps all tend to come from- you guessed it! San Francisco. I do not live in San Francisco, or on either coast. And while the vast majority of my peers carry either an iPhone or an Android phone of one sort or another, I never hear about these things being used. I have a large, diverse, very social user-base. They ask me about everything. About this, though- something that might be useful to some of them- not a word. Perhaps they prefer the old-school way of hob-nobbing.
Let’s switch gears for a moment, and consider the minority- geeky introverts. While we enjoy going out and socializing almost as much as anyone else, we have different goals when we do. Our energy and tolerance for the social stuff is limited, and we dread getting trapped by overbearing, noisy people. Quiet, sensitive introverted folks would probably prefer an app that warns us that there is a garrolous, long-winded man with a bone-crushing hand-shake directly ahead, or a perfume-drenched touchy-feely-huggy woman waiting to ambush us with 2,390,837 photos of her grandbabies, and gives us the route to avoid them. We could program our app to warn us about the proximity of gossips, time hoggers, religious fanatics, stumping politicians, MLM salespeople, large jumpy dogs, and narcissistic droners.
And let’s not stop with annoying, energy sapping people. I’d love an app that warns of noise levels too loud for normal conversation in restaurants or bars, or advises you that the place you are contemplating for supper is ‘family friendly’ with the accompanying noise hazards. I’d love to see an ‘annoying music’ warning for certain stores (*cough*Kohls*cough*) who play overweening alt-emo garbage at volumes that leave me wishing I’d brought my Zune. A really indespensible app would warn me that the parking lot at my local grocery store is chock-full of cars, as well as there being no carts available, thus warning me away from the harrowing experience of shopping in a crowd. Such an app would map out all the dogs in a neighborhood, so if you are house-hunting, you could find a place that you can go into your yard without being assaulted by barking neighbor-dogs.
Yeah, I know- total foolish fantasy. But being the minority in sensory, social and sonic sensitivities makes me keenly aware of the utter lack of truly considerate applications. Perhaps a fellow introverted geek who knows how to gin up such things could create an app for the rest of us. It could be called ‘Skoshi-Sosh”.