The likely hoax app that requires you to be drunk before you can use it.
Friday, March 07, 2014 - 09:49 AM
Update: Gizmodo agrees with us that Livr is almost certainly a hoax. I feel very glad I did at least a cursory look around when I first wrote the article.
Livr is a new social networking app named for the organ you will be destroying while you use it. You see, you can only access Livr if your blood alcohol level is above a certain number. No, really. To use it, you have to install an plug-in breathalyzer on your phone. And even though I imagine that there is absolutely nothing unique about the function of this social network, I wish I could crack open some beers during work hours to try it out.
What I love about most about Livr is that it turns the whole idea of social networking, which aims to be ubiquitous and easily accessible, completely on its head. You can't even access the program without already being pretty drunk. Judging by the promotional material on the website, this implies that it will be inhabited only by young, nightlife-loving party goers, and there will be "No baby photos. No puppies. Mom isn’t here. Just a global network of similarly buzzed people looking to have a good time."
Aside from that, it sounds from the website exactly like any other social networking site, except it has location based bar recommendations (which is kind of a no-brainer, right?), a crowdsourced "truth or dare" game, and a "blackout button," which allows you to erase any record of your previous night's activities. That almost seems cute if you don't think at all about the implications of it.
Look, I get that this is a pretty dumb app, and it doesn't really encourage great behavior. The promo video even has the designers talking about how the app will celebrate the users' humanity and imperfection, and will allow them to publicly make mistakes in a community that will be accepting of them.
But I think the conceit is actually kind of clever. There's a barrier for entry, but anyone can overcome that barrier with a minimum of effort. The barrier itself is to become slightly less inhibited and maybe a little rowdier, and once you gain access, you are suddenly a part of a community of similarly rowdy and uninhibited people. Will it succeed? Almost definitely not, outside of, say, college campuses and big cities. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't give it a shot.
It also occurs to me that this app is just ridiculous enough that it could be one of the internet's many hoaxes for the day - I didn't find it registered with the copyright office, and all the trademarks registered for "Livr" are dietary supplements. It's not available in the iPhone app store. I sent an email to them asking if I could see some proof the app exists, like a beta version or some documentation of some kind, but it's early in the day, so those party animals might not be up yet. I'll update the article with any information I get.