Crowd of people at the Eiffel Tower

Reverse Check-ins

This is an innovation that the introvert in me can really buy into.

For many years now, social-focused apps have helped users find each other. We can check into particular locations using Foursquare or Instagram or to see who has checked in somewhere near us. Dating apps work in real time to introduce potential matches who happen to be near each other. Business networking apps help people with similar business interests find each other for professional purposes.

But Avoid Humans is a new app that reverses the process. It helps the user find a place that has the fewest people. It was originally designed for SXSW attendees to take a break from the energized masses of people stuffing Austin’s hangouts to the limit. But in any big city, finding a place to avoid the crowds could be a common user need.

It seems like you can’t find a restaurant, store or parking lot without coming across a horde of people that will inevitably ruin your day. Whether it’s waiting for a table, waiting for a parking spot or just trying to find a place to stand so you can breathe for a second, going out and socializing is becoming harder and harder to do because, well, we’re just running out of room. But now with a website called Avoid Humans, it’s actually easier to find a quiet place outside of your bedroom closet.

I can imagine a few enhancements that would make it even more versatile. Imagine being at a crowded conference and wanting to find a place that is not too far away but where you won’t bump into your colleagues and you can get some work done. Perhaps it couldn’t guarantee that there would be none, but if the app were integrated into the conference program app (such as we have at the HFES Annual Meeting), it could at least maximize your chances of minimal interruptions.

Your Turn

What other enhancements would you like to see? A restaurant where no families with children have checked in? A sports bar where no fans of your favorite team’s rival have checked in?

Image Credit: stokpic

3 thoughts on “Reverse Check-ins”

  1. Sounds like a ‘Very British Problem’ – saying hi to someone to be polite, but not wanting to get engaged in conversation because you know you cannot be rude and get out of the situation!

  2. @Gareth – you remind me of one of my favorite scenes from A Fish Called Wanda where John Cleese explains that phenomenon both brilliantly and hysterically. The best line of his monologue is “You are afraid to ask how someone’s children are, just in case they were recently killed in a car crash.” or something to that effect.

  3. Even extroverts like to recharge batteries. Wanting some solitude doesn’t make one “people-phobic.” In any case, I wonder if the unintended consequence might be the end of empty spaces.

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