Come on baby, do the iso-lation: How social networks are encouraging us to stay home

Social apps are rewarding users for acting like shut-ins.


March 26, 2020

Photo: Unacast

If you still haven’t gotten the message, everybody’s doin’ a brand-new dance now. It’s called the (social) isolation. And your social networks want to make sure you know all the steps.

In fact, they’re kind of turning it into a game.

And canceling plans is for winners, baby

Before the coronavirus pandemic turned us all into hermits, Snapchat’s Zenly was all about sharing your location so you could meet up with friends IRL. 

But this week, the app rolled out a Stay at Home challenge — it ranks you and your buds based on how much time you’re spending in your house. It’s an introvert’s delight — high scores for staying in more!

Instagram’s getting into the game, too: Its new “Stay at Home” stories occupy dedicated space in your story lineup. They show off how well the accounts you follow are following stay-home orders. 

Adam Mosseri, the ‘gram’s CEO, said the feature was so popular that it almost brought IG to its knees.

Your social apps aren’t the only ones keeping score

A company called Unacast launched a Social Distancing Scoreboard that assigns counties and states a letter grade, using the change in the distance we travel as a rough proxy for how well we’re staying put.

The top scoring state as of Wednesday afternoon? That’d be, um… DC. The residents of our nation’s capital may hate taxation without representation, but they don’t seem to mind isolation without representation.

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