You guys, BLACK MIRROR IS TOTALLY COMING TO REAL LIFE AND NONE OF US ARE SAFE.
You see, when I went to share a photo from Instagram this morning, I came across this.
Wah.... what in the name of what is a Swarm? And why would I share my pictures there?
My subsequent research was equal parts fascinating and terrifying.
Swarm, dearest reader friends, is the app that - in the developers' own words - turns every day into a game, where you receive "coins" for being socially active. For example: if you check in with your buddy at the local park, you get rewarded with virtual money.
The end game? To be the most socially active so you finish above your friends on the coins 'leaderboard' at the end of the week.
And if you achieve that? You may just be crowned 'Mayor' of your favourite destinations.
Basically, it's like a popularity contest to see who leaves bed the most and doesn't spend every Saturday night watching Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants with remnants of Pad Thai on their chin.
Does this... um... remind anyone else of something?
OH GOOD GOD NO.
The entire storyline of Netflix's Black Mirror, Season 3 Episode 1 is becoming real.
For those who missed it, the premiere episode 'Nosedive' followed the creepy life of Lacie Pound, a young woman infatuated with social media. In her futuristic world, people received ratings out of five stars for every social interaction (both real life and in the virtual realm), and their overall popularity score would operate as currency.
For example, passengers at the airport with a star rating over 4.2 would qualify for First Class flights, while people with star ratings 4.4 and over would receive premium cancer treatment to those with a lower ranking.
You see, ratings lower than a three were deemed embarrassing.
It's a bizarre forecast for our future selves, but with the invention of Swarm, perhaps it's not as far-fetched as we originally believed.
LISTEN: Luca Lavigne explains Black Mirror on The Binge. (Post continues...)
Released in May 2014 as a spin off to FourSquare, Google's answer to Facebook, Swarm also encourages users to compete in check-in 'Challenges'. More specifically, users will face the task of visiting a certain number of venues within a specific date range: if they succeed, they will be entered to win prizes, including $10,000 to spend on a dream location.
While the app is far more popular and accessible in the United States - the developers have recently relished the app's 10 billionth check in - its increasing popularity may see it explode Down Under very, very soon.
"Engagement and usage in the Swarm app is super deep," J Crowley, the company's head of product, told The Verge in September last year. "In fact it’s higher now than it’s ever been in the history of the entire company."
So, will this spell the end of mankind as we know it?
Probably not. But I'll be hiding under my doona for the foreseeable future, anyway.