Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Online Extras

February 13, 2013

Slate: An app as sweet as Godiva

WASHINGTON — Everything about the online world encourages sharing — share your recent purchase on Amazon, share your dining experience on Yelp, share your thoughts about Beyoncé on Twitter. But what about the things you would rather not share with everyone in your social network, such as the cheesy pet name you call your boyfriend or the startlingly high number of romantic comedies your wife forced you to watch on Netflix last month?

There is an app for that. In the past year, several "couples apps" — with names like Duet, Avocado and Couple — have come to market, promising to "bring the romance back to one-on-one messaging" by creating a social network of two. One leader in the market, Between, launched in South Korea last year and has already been downloaded 1 million times. Anyone who has endured watching couples shamelessly canoodle on Facebook or Twitter should be relieved. These apps promise to do for digital intimacy what the automobile did for analog couples in the 20th century — create opportunities for on-the-go private interactions in an otherwise transparent world. Like the road to true love, the apps that offer to track it do not always run smoothly.

Couples apps are part of a movement away from promiscuous sharing online to sharing more exclusively. Like Glassboard, a social network for small groups that positions itself as an alternative to Facebook, couples apps emphasize privacy, intimacy and the need to humanize our digital interactions by scaling them down. In the two-person domain of the couples app, no one will stumble across pictures of ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends. Sappy messages, flirty texts, and risqué pictures remain safe from the prying eyes of employers or judgmental relatives.

But reimagining the online world as an intimate space can be a tough sell, as Facebook discovered last year when it made intimate sharing compulsive by generating "couples pages" for its users. The pages, whose privacy settings can be tweaked but which cannot be deleted, display everything posted or tagged on Facebook by you and the person you have designated as your significant other. Not all users were happy to see their romantic partnerships curated by Facebook's algorithms. ("I want to vomit," one blogger wrote.)

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Online Extras
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    May 16, 2014

  • Your child is a natural-born liar

    If your kid has been lying, "that's very, very normal," explains Kang Lee, a developmental psychologist at the University of Toronto who has been studying lying in children for 20 years. Generally, kids start to lie by around the age of 2 1/2  or 3, usually to cover up transgressions.

    May 16, 2014

  • Cashing in on pot market proves a pipe dream for traditional pharmacies

    Americans seeking medical marijuana for anything from pain to seizures must turn to a patchwork of small startups for help as U.S. laws keep traditional pharmacies out of a market that may exceed $6 billion by 2019.

    May 16, 2014

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    A 65-foot tree named after the nation's 34th president on the 17th hole at Augusta National Golf Club was removed over the weekend after sustaining "irreparable damage" during an ice storm at the home of the Masters Tournament.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Football helmets don't protect side of head from blows in tests

    Players using current football helmets aren't adequately protected against hits to the side of the head, which can lead to sometimes-lethal concussions and brain swelling, researchers said.

    February 18, 2014

  • Why marrying your equal can boost inequality

    Rich and poor Americans are slowly but surely staking out separate lives. Increasingly, they have been moving to different communities, and more frequently they are also marrying people of similar income and educational backgrounds. This is a phenomenon social scientists call assortative mating.

    February 5, 2014

  • credit-card-generic.jpg Hackers probably attacked companies beyond Target, report says

    Hacking attacks like those that siphoned credit-card data from Target and Neiman Marcus are probably part of an unprecedented assault on a larger number of retailers, according to a security company working with the government.

    January 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Four ways to tell if Affordable Care Act is working

    We are now days into the health-care law's insurance expansion, which began at midnight on Jan. 1. And it is, alas, far too early to tell if the nation's new health-care reform is working.

    January 4, 2014

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