Social networks are about maintaining friendships and fostering new ones, but some of the apps made for them seem bent on doing the opposite. Here are 7 anti-social Facebook apps, and why you might want them anyway.
Burger King's new Facebook app allows you to hack out 10 of your Facebook friends and get a voucher for a free Whopper in return. Burger King says it may be "time to put your fair-weather friendships to the test," but Whopper Sacrifice could go much deeper than that. I have 500 friends on Facebook; that's worth one Whopper a day for almost two months. Unfortunately, Burger King saw my strategy coming, and limited the promotion to one burger per person.
Upside: Free burger.
Downside: Insult 10 people for a $2 sandwich.
This vaguely-named app allows your friends to vote your best qualities up and down, thereby determining your "date-ability" and matching you up with other "dateable" friends. If that's not brutal enough, this app manages to flagrantly violate two cardinal rules of dating: never bet on someone who looks like a match "on paper," and never let your idiot friends hook you up with people who look good "on paper." A close second to Social Profile is the app Compare People, which dispenses with all the matchmaking nonsense and simply lets people compare their friends' hotness and vote it up or down. Kind of like a wet t-shirt contest, but with people you supposedly care about!
Upside: If you're hot, you'll be reminded.
Downside: If you're not, you'll be reminded.
Hug Me allows you to replace Facebook's conventional means of 4th-grade passive aggression — the "poke" — with hugging, tickling, and slapping. That allows users to convey all the actual affection of hugging and tickling, without all that grossness of touching another human being. Hug Me is capable of other gestures, too; it allows you to give friends "a beer," which, according to the Archie Bunker School of Interpersonal Relations, is admittedly a pretty good substitute for a hug in most scenarios.
Upside: "Hug" people who are too far away for a real hug.
Downside: Keep those people far away by freaking them out with an online "hug."
The Party On app asks you to "Have More Fun! Start partying with your friends now!" That sounds exciting! But before you run out and buy a 30-pack of High Life, keep in mind that Party On is just an invitation app that uses your Facebook pictures like postcards. That level of personalization is almost enough to make you forget a brutal condition: few people realize they've gotten a Facebook invitation until two months after the date has passed, and this invitation is only viewable by people who have (or choose to install) the Party On app. You're better off blasting your entire phonebook with a mass text if you want to appear intimate.
Upside: Your picture-invitation looks awesome! That was the most killer Halloween party EVER!
Downside: This Halloween party will be decidedly less killer.
Lil Blue Cove by Fast Company, on Flickr" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fast-company/3182974388/">
This "green" app lets you exchange little fish icons with your friends to save the environment. Supposedly, every time you exchange a fish, a sponsor donates some money to the Nature Conservancy, which then saves some piece of rainforest. With 2.1 million active monthly users, the developers are proud to announce they've saved 96 million square feet of rainforest. Square feet? Is the rainforest a condo? Turns out 96 million square feet sounds a lot larger than 3.2 square miles. If you really want to go "green," turn off your computer and volunteer somewhere. Too lazy? Donate a few bucks directly to the Nature Conservancy, so that the Lil Blue Cove developers don't take their cut to cover "operating expenses."
Upside: Do a little something to help the rainforest.
Downside: Look like a hypocrite for only doing a little something.
With Violations, you can accuse your friends of various social infractions without regard for timeliness or joke delivery. Did your friend just spill his beer on someone? Wait 'til tomorrow morning, and send him a "Party Foul!" violation. He'll wallow in a hangover of shame and guilt, once he thinks back and remembers the event you're talking about. The Violation app also dispenses with the softening effect of your voice, letting you say something as a joke and have it come across in cold text, looking plain ol' mean. Girlfriend have a fender bender? Send her the violation for "Driving Like a Moron." Without hearing it in your gently-joking tone, she'll probably take offense, and dump you. Hopefully using Violations.
Upside: Show competence using today's tired colloquialisms. Party Foul! I'm so down with 2006!
Downside: Look even more like a dumbass than people who say "Party Foul!" in real life.
This clever app relieves you from the constant pressure to be creative. When that blank "status" box is blinking in your face, don't bother typing in what you're actually doing, or something you actually think. Don't even bother sticking in a funny joke you heard somewhere. Just use Status Shuffler, and it will automagically generate a funny, clever or risque status that you can assume as yours. As this app's message board reveals, using Status Shuffler to set your status will notify other users that your status came from an app. Luckily, savvy users have suggested copy-pasting the Shuffler's status into your status box, making the ruse complete.
Upside: Hey! You're funny now!
Downside: Hey! You may have misunderstood the status box! Seriously, it's just asking what you're doing right now. So do something, and then type it in.