Unless you’re on the receiving end of being blocked, the option to freeze all interactions with certain people on most apps and social media sites is often a total life saver. Whether someone’s harassing you, being a general unwanted nuisance or maybe even just sporadically posting overly emotional song lyrics that make everyone cringe; you can get rid of them with ease by use of a single click. Occasionally our dickhead friends and slightly abrasive acquaintances annoy us to the point where we wish that it was possible to block them in real life, and now there’s a miraculous new smartphone app where you can do exactly that.
‘pplkpr’, pronounced “people keeper”, is the combined brainchild of digital artists Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald and is currently available to download free from the Apple store. They promise us that it’s not like the latest episode of Black Mirror at all (the one where that guy gets blocked by his lady after declaring that she doesn’t want to keep the baby she’s carrying and all he can see of her and the eventually-born child are non-distinct blurry shapes which he isn’t able to communicate with) and instead allows you to prioritise your time and interact with people you genuinely like rather than wasting your life hanging out with overly-opinionated Oliver and beyond-boring Beatrice.
You can either use the app by manually filling out reports on your daily social interactions but it works best used alongside the the accompanying wristband that is able to measure your heart rate and stress levels during each instance of communication. Whilst pplkpr doesn’t completely void the problematic people from engaging with you or make them appear as fuzzed-out white noise humanoids; you are able to organise your friends into lists of who makes you the most and least angry, bored, aroused, excited, calm, scared or anxious and from that make informed decisions on how to arrange your social life.
Inventor Lauren McCarthy said:
One motivation behind pplkpr was to create an app for trimming down and focusing your social life rather than expanding and diluting it.
We were looking at this increasing trend toward wearables and quantified life and we wondered: when does it go too far? Not taking the time to figure out your own relationships seems ludicrous.
We want to think we’re more than bots. Yet we’re constantly complaining about emails in our inbox, too many social notifications, and FOMO. The idea of an algorithm tracking and managing your social life feels creepy, but what if it actually works? What if it actually improves your relationships and emotional life?
Watch both artists talk about the inspiration behind their latest invention as well feedback from the university students who first trialled the app here: