Most people usually lament and fear the fact that technology is now making it easier than ever to spread hurtful ideas. From shaming someone into suicide on Facebook to recruiting jihadists on Youtube, there are certainly plenty of examples of the negative implications of social media. But is it possible that in another sense, this will prove to be the ultimate test, and hopefully vindication, of a free Marketplace of Ideas.
I had never heard of the Somebody app until I listened to Reply All today. Replay All is the first podcast from Gimlet Media, that’s the company the StartUp podcast is about. I know, this is getting a little regressive.
Anyway, here is a little introduction to the Somebody app.
The first two episodes of Reply All were great, and though they are on very different subjects, in a way, they are about the same thing. The hosts went and talked to Arial, the one who sent the message via the app, and it turns out there is a lot more psychology going on in the Somebody app than you would expect, at least for her. The app is apparently very glitchy and messages often don’t get delivered. This made the app a kind of release for Arial, she could say something that she wanted to say, but wasn’t really ready to deal with the consequences of saying it. It was kind of like leaving it up to fate. It is just one of the many examples how technology has changed the way we deal with our everyday feelings.
The second episode was about an app called Figure One. This is an app where doctors can post images of the really weird conditions they see while they are at work. Though the images sound sometimes gruesome, the psychology part is in the comments of these pictures. If you know someone in the medical profession, you quickly learn about the completely ridiculous everyday occurrences. If there is an average chance you will see someone die at work, than seeing someone die isn’t a big deal. The comments on Figure One, if read by someone who isn’t in the medical community, probably seem heartless. But the truth is, it is just a coping mechanism. Every community has it, the military, the police, probably bus drivers. Normal things to you are not normal to most people. What is unique is now, everyone can see into those worlds. What used to be locker room chatter is now being broadcast over the PA, and both sides of the conversation are having to change in order to deal with this new information.
You can check out Reply All at Gimlet’s website or on iTunes.