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This article was published on March 7, 2011

Don’t like strangers? Situationist for the iPhone wants to change that

Don’t like strangers? Situationist for the iPhone wants to change that
Martin Bryant
Story by

Martin Bryant

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Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-qualit Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-quality, compelling content for them. He previously served in several roles at TNW, including Editor-in-Chief. He left the company in April 2016 for pastures new.

Should you be scared of strangers? The developers behind an intriguing new iPhone app say no.

Situationist is designed to encourage people who don’t know each other to interact in public in a number of ways, from giving hugs and high fives, to more bizarre actions like “Whisper your middle name in my ear” and “Scare me”.

Here’s how it works: add a photo of yourself to the app and select a ‘Situation’ from the list. Other users of the app are then alerted when you get close by and invited to interact with you in the way you chose. The rules of the ‘game’ state that they have five minutes to do this and that they must simply walk away afterwards.

There are twenty situations available at lunch but you can suggest new ones to be added as long as they’re simple and memorable and not violent, obscene or impossible. Looks-wise, there’s really not a lot to say about the minimal black and white interface, but this is all about starting real-world interactions so that doesn’t really matter.

The app’s London-based developers pitched it to us as “The first anarchist iPhone app”, something reflected in the final Situation in the app’s menu – “Help me rouse everyone around us into revolutionary fervour and storm the nearest TV station”. I assume they’re joking, but Situationism is the name of the movement that inspired the May 1968 uprising in Paris so who knows.

Whether you’re an anarchist or not, it’s hard to argue with the point the app’s trying to make: “When the media deliberately demonise strangers as paedophiles, stalkers or terrorists, it is time to fight back and reconnect with our fellow citizens and human beings.”

Amen. Situationist is free and available to download now.