Dumbed Down Utility.


Today The New York Times had a cover story on geolocation dating services. If you’re looking for a date and have a smart phone these new apps tell you who is nearby and available. Text, text, plan, plan and you can grab a drink with little social awkwardness. The services are Grindr, Bendr, OKCupid Locals, and How About We.

I was a doofus at bars as a young ‘un and couldn’t walk up to interesting girls with a good rap. For someone in the selling business it was a skill I needed to work on. Had I an app for that, would I have learned the skill faster? 

Here’s my take, socially inept kids hide in their cell phones. Heads down, active in the ether, they appear to be busy. Some kids feign being on the phone to look popular so they can troll for interaction, they hope will come their way. Not good. Unless these are kids who might never make it out of the house to begin with. I suspect that these geolocation apps will soon come with “sorry” buttons so users don’t have to deal with ending these pseudo dates.  Rather than look someone in the eye and say “Thanks for meeting with me but…” the daters will simply hit sorry and the app will ping the date is over. (I can just hear these unique ping tones, ringing across the bars of NYC in 2012.)  The human behaviorists and sociologists are going to have a field day with this stuff.

We need to move beyond a dumbed down utility with apps and think about skill enablement and development. Peace is not an app. (Or is it?)