Facebook PixelAn app that secretly gets your friends to show up unannounced exactly when you would otherwise be binge-browsing social media
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An app that secretly gets your friends to show up unannounced exactly when you would otherwise be binge-browsing social media

Image credit: The Guardian, Youtube

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jun 19, 2022
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An app that predicts when you're likely to waste time on social media and secretly schedules that time with your best friend(s) to show up unannounced at your location.
Why?
  • Spend more quality time with your friends instead of giving in to tech addiction.
  • People reach for "quick fixes" of tech addiction because those are the easiest to obtain. In contrast, it takes some preparation and scheduling to even hang out with friends. It doesn't have to be like that.
  • What if your best friend could just show up at the right place and time when you're bored?
How it works
An app that analyzes your phone use habits and figures out patterns of when and where you are most likely to waste your time binge-browsing social media. If the predicted time block is significant enough, the app attempts to schedule that time with one of your best friends and invite them to show up unannounced. It schedules each available time slot with a different friend you enjoy hanging out with.
It sends them a message that goes something like this:
"pssst... I'm and app running on your friend <Name>'s phone. I'm designed to help people spend less time glued to their phones and more time hanging out with their friends. <Name> designated you as one of their best friends. Judging by their phone use stats, s/he is most likely to waste 76 minutes browsing social media on Friday from 17:29 onwards. That would be the perfect time for you to show up unannounced to hang out instead. Can you make it? <Name> doesn't know I scheduled with you. Let's keep it that way:) Spending more time with friends, wastes less of it on meaningless stuff."
I realize there are several ways this could go wrong. It's a concept. We can iterate it.
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General comments

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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic2 months ago
The app should contain contacts. So when the app detects you're wasting time on social media, it automatically logs a call from your friend's phone to you. Your friend is notified that within the next 5 minutes, their phone will be calling that person so they have time to prepare about what to talk about. By automatically calling from a friend's phone, it could also get them off social media.
The app will keep a schedule of the friends it chose as the dialer so that the same person doesn't call you often.
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J. Nikola
J. Nikola2 months ago
Really cool idea. What I like is the fact that you introduced an AI-assistant that schedules your events. Since your time and friendships are at stake, the prediction algorithm should be incredible. What parameters have you considered to be involved in prediction? I am afraid that if such an app was introduced in my life, it would make a lot of mistakes since I change plans quickly.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni2 months ago
Great! Additionally, the app can use location data to confirm that the user is at home and ready to waste their time 😄 . If the user is out, then the app notifies the friend that the user is not on social media but outside and reschedules the meeting.
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni Darko Savic The user can be out, but still be browsing their phone - in a park, in a cafe, while walking down the street, at their partner's place, whatever. Would the app only schedule meetings for times when the user is at home or would it attempt to schedule it at any location the user is in? The latter option is more interesting but more practically complicated.
Also, would the user know how the app works (by scheduling unannounced meetings with their friends)? If so, they might expect someone to come every time they engage in phone browsing for long enough. Even if they wouldn't know, after the first meeting they would and those expectations might turn into psychological tension/anxiety with time. They might start guessing who and when could come and get disappointed when it wouldn't happen.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 months ago
Povilas S good points. Not having (good) friends is another problem that this feature might uncover. The user should of course know how the app works. They would install it because their tech addiction has become a noticeable problem that they can't seem to beat on their own.
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