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This might be the coolest (or creepiest) new social app we’ve seen in months

Published Jun 19th, 2014 10:17AM EDT
20 Days Stranger

It seems like each new social app that launches pushes us further apart as a society. Thousands of users posting minutia impossible to care about… ridiculous secrets anonymously posted with zero accountabilitystupid apps designed to do little more than annoy us… it’s all becoming overwhelming. Every so often, however, something different emerges that finds novel ways to bring us closer together — and 20 Days Stranger is perhaps the most poetic new social app we have seen in quite some time.

Currently in alpha testing, 20 Days Stranger was designed by MIT’s Playful Systems Group to connect two individuals anonymously for 20 days at a time.

The app runs in the background on an iPhone in order to track your location and other data as you go about your day. It regularly sends messages with vague details about your activities to the person with whom you have been connected.

For example, the app might let your partner know that you’re driving in a car, relaxing at the beach or at a stadium watching a baseball game.

All of these messages are exchanged completely anonymously between two individuals.

Then, at the end of the 20 days, you have the opportunity to send one 400-character message to your partner. You can share your identity and contact info, inquire about some specific activities, or if you were connected with me, you can ask why I seem to never emerge from my office.

“This is about addressing a fundamental human question, which is: How can we become aware of all the people in the world who we are connected to but may never meet?” MIT professor and Playful Systems Group head Kevin Slavin told Wired.

A video showcasing the app follows below, and iPhone users can sign up to join the alpha testing group by following the link down in our source section.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.