It was the flush end of a pleasurably hot day — 85 degrees in March — and we were all sipping bitter cocktails out in my friend’s backyard, which was both his smoking room, beer garden, viticetum, opossum parlor and barbecue pit. These are all girls with publicly visible Facebook profiles who have checked into these locations recently using Foursquare.I was enjoying the warm dusk with a group of six of my best friends, all of whom seemed interested, except for my girlfriend… become obsessed with Girls Around Me, an app that perfectly distills many of the most worrying issues related to social networking, privacy and the rise of the smartphone into a perfect case study that anyone can understand. It is as innocent as it is insidious; it is just as likely to be reacted to with laughter as it is with tears; it is as much of a novelty as it has the potential to be used a tool for rapists and stalkers.. She works at a coffee shop, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t moonlight picking up tricks.” “How does it know where these girls are? Is it plucking data from your address book or something? Girls Around Me then shows you a map where all the girls in your area trackable by Foursquare area.
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A big green button at the bottom reading “Photos & Messaging” just begged to be tapped, and when I did, I was whisked away to Zoe’s Facebook profile. Most of her information is visible, so I now know her full name.
I can see at a glance that she’s single, that she is 24, that she went to Stoneham High School and Bunker Hill Community College, that she likes to travel, that her favorite book is and her favorite musician is Tori Amos, and that she’s a liberal. I can see her birthday.” “All of that is visible on Facebook? “More, depending on how your privacy settings are configured! From her photo albums, I can see that she likes to party, and given the number of guys she takes photos with at bars and clubs at night, I can deduce that she’s frisky when she’s drunk, and her favorite drink is a frosty margarita. Also, since her photo album contains pictures she took at the beach, I now know what Zoe looks like in a bikini… All I need to do now is go down to the Independent, ask her if she remembers me from Stoneham High, ask her how her brother Mike is doing, buy her a frosty margarita, and start waxing eloquently about that beautiful summer I spent in Roma.” Throughout this demonstration, my group of friends had been split pretty evenly along gender lines in their reactions.
A Linux aficionado who was the only person in our group without a Facebook account (and one of the few people I’d ever met who actually endorsed Diaspora), the look he returned was one of comical smugness. Girls Around Me quickly loaded up a fullscreen render of her Facebook profile picture.
The app then told me where Zoe had last been seen (The Independent) and when (15 minutes ago).
It would have been so nice to finish things with a laugh.
But now, as six intelligent, sophisticated friends from a variety of backgrounds surrounded me — some looking sick, some looking angry, and some with genuine fear in their faces — I didn’t think Girls Around Me was so funny.
For example, I can also look at Zoe’s pictures.” I tapped on the photo album, and a collection of hundreds of publicly visible photos loaded up. which, as it happens, is pretty damn good.” My girlfriend scowled at me. I know what she looks like, both clothed and mostly disrobed. Across the board, the men either looked amused or (in the case of my beardo Diaspora friend) philosophically pleased with themselves about their existing opinions about social networking.
I assured her Zoe in a bikini was no comparison, and moved on. I know her full name, her parents’ full names, her brother’s full name. The women, on the other hand, looked sick and horrified.
Mobile Social networkings where individuals with similar interests converse and connect with one another through their mobile phone and can chat, share their feelings and many more.