One of the many social media network apps out there is Crowdpilot. Crowdpilot is an app developed by Lauren McCarthy that allows individuals publish their conversations online for anonymous users and or a select group of people, such as Facebook friends, to comment on and provide advice. Those who offer suggestions as to what could be said are the “crowdpilots.” This app could prove very useful in awkward situations or when one is at a loss as to what to say. Out of all the three main social media apps I use, I think Crowdpilot most relates to Facebook Messenger and Yik-Yak, although Crowdpilot’s purpose and implications for social interaction are different.
The primary feature Facebook Messenger, Yik-Yak, and Crowdpilot share is the generation of a two-way conversation. For example, Facebook Messenger acts much like texting in that it allows Facebook friends to have a conversation together by messaging back and forth. Yik-Yak initiates a more indirect two-way conversation by enabling individuals to post their thoughts or circumstances and have other individuals up or down vote the comments to show their either their agreement or disagreement. How does Crowdpilot relate to these two social media apps? Crowdpilot permits individuals to directly seek one another out like Facebook Messenger and also allows crowdpilots to comment on the situation like Yik—Yak.
Overall, I would say Crowdpilot is most similar to Yik-Yak, although I think the purpose of each app is different. Whereas Yik-Yak is geared to college students and can be used more for amusement and informative purposes, Crowdpilot can ultimately be used by anyone is and employed when seeking help. To characterize these differences, an example of comments found on Emory University’s YiK-Yak include jokes about the squirrels or events on campus. In contrast, comments on Crowdpilot first state a context, such as a family dinner, and are then followed by suggestions for what to say, such as “ask how so and so’s team is doing.”
While apps like Crowdpilot can be very useful, I think so apps also discourage face-to-face interaction. That is, individuals no longer need to seek out friends or other mentors to ask for advice or to receive affirmation, they can just get these things on the web. Additionally, rather than making an effort to meet new people and interact with friends, individuals can rely upon strangers or anonymous users to be there. Thus, I think certain social media apps, including Crowdpilot, give individuals a sense that virtual relationships are the same or just as good as physical relationships when individuals on the other end could really be someone entirely different than who they say they are. Likewise, I think this encouragement of lack of face-to-face social interaction causes laziness and can also lead to feelings of depression or loneliness once an individual realizes a virtual relationship or virtual communication is not as substantial as physical relationships and actual conversation. Conclusively, I am not against social media apps, but I think individuals should use them with caution and be aware of their limitations.