Scaling to twenty thousand users overnight, a virtual unknown Web app has arrived on the digital landscape to address our latest social media dilemma - how to avoid the many followers we've worked diligently to attract? As such, Avoidr might be labeled the first "anti-social" social network.
As location-based social networking encroaches our daily lives, opportunities for escapism becomes less and less, and anonymity is no longer a precious commodity. With Foursquare, Gowalla and even Twitter Places going mainstream, it's almost as if the walls of social media are closing in on us.
In response, San Francisco-based technologist Jesper Andersen, creator of Avoidr has risen to the challenge of keeping some of our less-friendly followers at bay. With his Web site's tagline " Keep your friends close and your enemies at that bar down the street," he allows his users to monitor the where-abouts of those frenemies, exes and other-wise 'dead-weight,' so that they don't end up checking into the same venue.
According to the Daily Intel, Andersen sees Avoidr as a kind of first step in a kinder, gentler social-networking world, and he hopes that future iterations of Foursquare will make it less socially awkward to hide or block people. "It's so formal to unfollow or unfriend someone," he says. "Though it definitely has a passive-aggressive bent."
Basically, the app works as a plug-in for one's Foursquare account. You can label your Foursquare friends with a variety of descriptive terms, and then choose to hit “Avoid.” Clicking on “Places to Avoid” will yield a list of venues where your foes are currently present.
This isn’t the first app that’s acted as a filter — Please Rob Me functioned in a similar way, allowing users to also scan its followers' check-in locations - and then there's Seppukoo.com, which creatively provides a means for users to commit hara-kiri by killing off their Facebook profile.
Free for use with Foursquare, Avoidr sends out alerts when your frenemies are checking in somewhere, and creates a list with places-not-to-go. Currently Avoidr is only a Web site, but Andersen thinks he should have it up as an app in about two weeks.
As we continue to progress through the location-based chasms of future social networking, I guess like in the real world, it's time to separate friends from foes.