Weekly Passport: Antisocial Apps, Tech for Oldies, and Gung-ho Globe Trotting

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This App Tracks People You Don’t Like So You Can Avoid Them in Reality

People are actively posting anything and everything to social networks with nary a care in the world. That’s old news. All Cloak does is take that social media behavior and offer a little IRL privacy.” (“IRL” is an acronym for “in real life”; you know—the stuff you do when you’re not on your computer?) So says Brian Moore and Chris Baker, creators of the aforementioned “anti-social app” one can use to go into “Incognito mode” in the real world—to “avoid exes, co-workers, that guy who likes to stop and chat—anyone you’d rather not run into.” It’s an antisocial network that scrapes a user’s Instagram, Foursquare, and other networks to determine where certain people are so they can be avoided. The end of online privacy may well be a foregone conclusion, so we might as well use our tools we have to ensure our “IRL privacy”, eh?

As DJ Pangburn writes, covering the app for Motherboard, Cloak is a stroke of “cynical genius”—but therein lies the problem: the cynicism of it. If (or rather as) more and more apps like this continue to encourage hyper-personalization and “hate-following” (Cloak works best when one “follows”, or subscribes, to the people he or she wants to avoid—enabling the app to more accurately pinpoint where they likely are or were), wouldn’t that threaten to make our perspectives as small as our world…? (Motherboard)

How to Keep Email from Ruining Your Life

It’s essential in work and in life to focus most on the single most important task at any given moment, whether that task is sitting one-on-one with a colleague, typing out a memo, designing a presentation or playing with your kids. So says Dave Kerpen, author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business. Since communication is arguably the most vital aspect of any business, email can consume your adulthood, keeping you from minding “what’s truly important in life.” As a tech and advertising CEO, Kerpen should know, so he’s taken the liberty of giving us five great tips to help us refrain from being email slaves—tips that happen to be quite EA-esque in how they inherently remind us to disconnect. (Inc.)

Tools for the Cognitively Impaired | The Case for Elderly-Friendly Tech

Most futuristic tech developments are still geared toward young people—things like virtual reality, video games, and gadgets. But increasingly, engineers are looking at aging like a “problem” that can be innovated away—a meager silver lining highlighted by Joseph Coughlin, director of MIT’s AgeLab, who in the latest Public Policy & Aging Report laments the overall neglect of the elderly by our inventors and innovators. (According to a PBS NewsHour report, senior citizens make up a “multibillion-dollar-market that’s been largely overlooked by Silicon Valley.”) “Business, government, and nonprofits,” writes Coughlin, “must collaborate to stimulate and speed the development of a next-generation technology-enabled aging services workforce.” Stanford has already taken heed, having launched a design challenge last fall for students to submit ideas for products meant to help those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Remember: It’s easy to mistake geographical borders for the only borders—some borders, like generational ones, are much closer to home and just as important.  (PBS NewsHour Motherboard)

Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People

I have sent people to shock websites for the lulz. I like to troll people in forums or the comments section of websites. I enjoy griefing other players in multiplayer games. The more beautiful and pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt. When researchers at the University of Manitoba sought to investigate the personality of “internet trolls”, these were the statements they used in their survey. Not only do plenty of respondents actually agree with them (which isn’t news), but researchers found that “doing so was correlated with sadism in its various forms, with psychopathy, and with Machiavellianism” (i.e., pleasure in the suffering of others). Even though trolls accounted for less than six percent of the people surveyed, they’ve nonetheless forced sites to go so far as to eliminate comment sections because of trolling’s deleterious effects. Unfortunately, “because the behaviors are intrinsically motivating for sadists,” the study author argues, “comment moderators will likely have a difficult time” as “the allure of trolling may be too strong.”EA understands that the internet can be anything. Whether or not it’s an accommodating and respectful place depends entirely on the people who use it. The question is will we ever be good enough… (Slate)

Travel for a Cause: Choosing Your Destination with a Purpose

In a selfish world, it would be all-too-easy to travel just for your own enjoyment and potential benefit. but if you are really going to be accountable and try to improve a piece of the world, you need to do more… So writes Jorge Branco for the Life section of Elite Daily. Sounding like someone with the makings of a healthy global citizen (an Everyday Ambassador), Jorge begins with a remark on his “guiding philosophy”—Pick Your Little Piece of the World and Improve It—and from there, calls upon would-be travelers to do more than travel: to learn about the world and “pay it forward” to those less fortunate. He ends by promising to use his “hands to serve” and his “eyes to learn”—to “travel the world and improve it.” By all means, go! There’s nothing Everyday Ambassador encourages more than service abroad…

BUT before you’re on your way, a word of caution: be patient and humble. Howbeit admirable it seems, marching gung-ho into an unfamiliar world with the intent to “improve” it is inherently offensive. The last thing marginalized people need is patronization and pity; and sometimes the simple act of listening and learning is all the help you can give—and all the help they’ll ever need. (Elite Daily)


“Your Weekly Passport” is a series curated by Everyday Ambassador writer and editor Michael Nebab. Every Tuesday, we will post a round-up of meaningful media tidbits and Everyday Ambassador must-reads. To stay current with our latest edition, follow #weeklypassport on our other platforms, and check back for updates.

Author: Michael Nebab
Writer. Learner. Thinker. Realist. American.

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