Tracking Toxic Relationships

I recently heard about a new app called pplkpr, pronounced “people keeper”, to help you keep track of your emotions when interacting with people.  It’s designed to help you discover patterns and trends in your emotional state based on who is around you.  The idea is to keep the people who impact you positively while eliminating interactions with people who stress you out.

The app works by:

  • using GPS to monitor when you are moving, and
  • detecting variations in your heart rate to determine if you are having an emotional reaction to something.

According to the website, “pplkpr is based on measurements of heart rate variability, where subtle changes in heart rhythm signal changes in your emotional state. pplkpr knows when you’re having a strong emotion, and lets you decide what that emotion is.

The heart rate is monitored through a Blue-tooth enabled wearable fitband, or by inputting data manually. Pplkpr connects to your Facebook friends, but it’s not clear if you can add people outside of your FB network.  At the moment, only in-person interactions can be recorded as no options exist for communications through email, text, social media, or phone calls.

The app collects and analyzes the data over time identifying patterns of your emotional state when interacting with certain people.  Once identified, the app can be programmed to block out stressful people while initiating engagements with others that have a positive effect.  On one video clip of pplkpr, users spoke of the benefit of being able to use technology as a definitive justification for breaking off a friendship or relationship.

We’re relying on technology to discover patterns about ourselves that we’re too disconnected to notice, even though we live through them 24/7, as a way to become more engaged.  And then we’re relying on the technology to manage the relationships to tell us who we should be spending more time with instead of connecting with them personally.  Am I missing something?

It’s supposed to make us feel more connected, or more aware of our connections, but does so in a way that is disengaging in the moment.  To me this is just inserting a “third-party” into the equation.  Perhaps if we spent our time together in engaging, meaningful ways we would be able to feel and recognize what is going on, rather than distracting ourselves by measuring and punching in data.



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