Anonymously Swap Notes And Secrets With People Nearby

A new type of social media makes your ‘whispers’ readable to anyone within 40 meters.

Facebook lets you communicate with people no matter where you are. But what about being able to communicate no matter who you are? This has become a seemingly impossible proposition as people’s senses and news feeds are constantly overflowing with the output of the people and brands they follow. But what if the information that reached you was chosen on a completely different, non-paid basis? Slight is a new way to communicate anonymously using location, where messages are only viewable when users are within a forty-meter radius of the sender.

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The app was developed by Jon Nash, an artist from London, and Michael Petruzzo, a developer. Both are now based in Los Angeles. Nash’s work displays a fascination with how digital tools affect actual-life culture, sometimes veering into the territory of anthropology. For example, a recent work of his investigated how young people in Marrakesh use YouTube.

People are always looking for affirmation. According to Wired, Nash himself birthed the idea for Slight when he was sitting through a “dreadful presentation” and wondering if the people around him might be thinking the same thing. Though he could have broadcast these ideas to everyone he’d ever met on standard social media channels, that would have been a bad idea especially when the forced inclusion of our real names on certain networks forces us to be accountable for all our statements.

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Though anonymous message board apps like Secret have caused a stir with their propensity for hosting the desperate confessions of people that belong to certain communities, like the San Francisco tech scene. Not everyone works in such an interesting industry, but they may live in an interesting place that forms a topic for discussion. Nash is proud of the way that the app’s uses may change according to the context; at a cafe or restaurant, for example, it may be used to offer opinions on food and drink, but at a park it could be used to flirt with people. And when New York’s subways get fully wired with cell service, we’re sure it will be used for the kind of passive-aggressive complaining that New Yorkers love.

However, apparently the face-to-face aspect keeps communications more positive. “Because users know that the sender is in the same space, and in most cases you can guess who said what we haven’t seen much negativity or vitriol,” Nash said. “Instead we’ve seen comedy, or amusing observations.” You can view some at the app’s Twitter account.

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The problem with such a new app, Wired notes, is that the limited pool of people in your Slight area means that the number of adopters really matters. So download the app now and see what your neighbors have to say!

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[h/t] Wired

Photo by Tim Bishop for Weber Shandwick Worldwide

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