Technology has given us a comfortable zone to globally connect, yet it has made us complacent and lazy when communicating face to face. Human interactions are supposed to be awkward and messy, yet we often choose to avoid contact with others by safely hiding behind our screens. The fact that we share physical space or even things in common with people is sometimes not enough to strike a conversation or share a compliment. Everyday we try convince ourselves that we want to be left alone. However, do we really? As a response, I decided to shift the role of technology in this social intimacy crisis by creating a mobile and web application called Affinity.
Affinity presents its users with one daily text-based challenge to reach out to others through small gestures like starting a conversation or sharing a smile. The application exists both as an iPhone app that sends daily push-notification prompts to your phone and as a Google Chrome extension that uses new tab windows to display these social missions. The extension converts this usually blank yet essential virtual space into an “Affinity Tab.” Each day, the tabs feature a different friendly dare. Every time the user opens a new tab, the challenge re-appears.
Affinity’s objective is to build positive behavioral habits through the repetition of encouraging social exercises. One day at a time, Affinity uses both the web and social media to re-build empathy and camaraderie in the real world. After all, we’re all in this together.