Do you ever wonder if someone is watching you? You may have the uneasy feeling that someone is keeping tabs on you.
On social sites like Twitter, Instagram and of course Facebook, it's nothing out of the ordinary if you gain a follower you don't know or have never met. That's just how social networks work. But in real life? Well, that's another story.
Part art project, part iPhone app and all parts unsettling, Follower is a "stalker service" that lets you sign up to have your own, out-of-sight, personal stalker for the day. Once you sign up, your GPS location will be sent to your follower who will then follow you around all day and, as the site puts it, "aim to maintain a distance that is within your consciousness but just beyond your sight."
Does that sound incredibly creepy to anyone else?
If you live in New York City and want to participate in the project, you can head to the Follower site and sign up to either be followed, or to be a follower. (Or you can also download the iOS app.) So far the project's creator, Lauren McCarthy, is the only follower.
If selected, participants are notified via text when their stalking has started and ended. When it's all over, you'll even get a photo of you from some point during your day, so you know you were actually being followed.
If for any reason you get creeped out and want to stop immediately, you can do so by deleting the app. That will stop your GPS location from being shared with your follower. McCarthy also promises that your location is never shared with anyone but your follower, which is, for now, just her.
The project wasn't designed for people to be just plain creepy however, as McCarthy states on the project's FAQ:
"We imagine it might offer some other form of interaction or relationship you have not had before, perhaps a way to experience new feelings, a different way of being in the world. Maybe it adds a little excitement or magic to your day, maybe it gives you a different perspective on your life."
Despite the motives behind the social experiment, it will be interesting to see how the project develops, especially given the fact that stalking is a very real and dangerous problem today. According to a 2013 National Cyber Security Alliance report, 20 percent of Americans, roughly 1 in 5, have been cyberstalked, sometimes with devastating consequences.
If you, or someone you know is being cyberstalked, learn these creep's best methods for tracking you online and learn how to fight back against them with this tip.
What are your thoughts on this app/experiment/art project? Too much? Let us know by posting in the comments below.