I’m gonna live with a stranger for 20 days.

…On my phone. Damn, I hate how you only get so much space in the title area. Sorry. I’m gonna live with a stranger for 20 days…on my phone.

What’s all this noise about? Well saw it on the ol’ Giz this morning and it piqued my interest (and yes, it is piqued, not peaked. Mic drop). 20dayastranger is yet another fantastic attempt to reach out into the dark abyss which is the internet to try to find someone to satisfy the necessity of “hey look at me!” that constantly shouts in my head. Sure, I’m a narcissist….but a digital narcissist.

So what is it other than a vague Rousseau-ian metaphor for loneliness in the modern age? It’s an app (what isn’t these days, am I right?) that basically transmits what you are doing to one other random’s persons phone for 20 days. How interesting is that? We’ll I guess it depends on what rando person you get… which I think is funny because I’m sure only people just like me (narcissist nerd types) will try it out.

What do I expect? Truly, I have no idea. I imagine it will be like “oh. I eat pizza too” or “Funny. Subway. I get that.” but deep down I have a strange feeling it will usurp in me the primal need to best this stranger in the battle for best quality of my life… forcing me to do things so bold and out of character only to make this stranger realize truly how much cooler I am. Example Gratis: “Oh, you’re eating pizza? Well I’m eating pizza too… in Rome cause I just hopped a flight. Euros bitch.” or perhaps “Oh… you went for a walk through Central Park … well maybe I’ll go for a little walk too… atop Mt. Kilimanjaro.”. Basically its Instagram that you cant turn off. (sounds horrible). I already feel ashamed of my actions. Perhaps, instead, I will do something artistic with it, like purchase another phone, and set that one up to just look at a bag blowing in the wind so every time this stranger checks what I’m doing, I’ll be just watching a bag blow beautifully in the wind and they’ll think, “damn, this dude is deep.”. Well perhaps that is more autistic then artistic. Fine, I’ll just try it out.

So what do you do? You go to their website and request to be a participant. It’s run by some brains at MIT and I’m sure that if you do it 5 years down the line your clone will live in some tech basement bunker in Massachusetts. Filling out the questionnaire is… interesting:

  • What is your email address?
  • Where do you live?
  • Do you have an iPhone (4 or higher) running ios 7.1 or higher?
  • Are you willing to try out some software that will crash (but won’t hurt your phone)?
  • Are you ready to use something that will track and transmit all your anonymized activity (e.g., general location, types of movement) to a person who will never learn who it’s from?
  • Are you curious about what someone else, somewhere in the world is up to?

Whataya say? Wanna be my stranger?


Thanks Gizmodo for telling me about 20daysstranger 😉

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