Does Everything Have to be Social?

It was a story from Engadget that put me over the edge. It’s about a new trivia game (new to Android, anyway) called QuizUp. Without really paying attention to the title I was already looking forward to putting my idle moments to good use, testing my knowledge and learning a few things along the way.

Then I read this:

And, since it’s a social game, you can test your expertise in any of those subjects against friends and strangers.

Picard Facepalm

To be fair to this particular title, I get it — the premise of QuizUp is to bring trivia night at the pub to the palm of your hand.  But what if I don’t want to “challenge my friends and connect with other players around the world”? What if I just want to play on my own?

I honestly think that a lot of the apps available to mobile users today could do just as well without the seemingly mandatory social element. Some examples of what I mean…


I can do without the leaderboards and mayorships, thanks very much. For me, Foursquare is a way to track and time-stamp places I’ve been to. I’ve got my account set up so that check-ins are automatically added to my Google Calendar; if Google themselves would add this functionality I’d switch over in a heartbeat.


Google+ has set itself up as a fantastic photo-sharing service, but everything else about the nascent social network seems like the antithesis to secure cloud storage of your personal information. I wrote something in 2010 called: Why I’m anti-social with Google; now, it seems, we have no choice in the matter.

Everything Else

The sharing functionality baked into Android makes it unique among mobile platforms. And while it’s nice to have that option, oftentimes it’s entirely unnecessary. Do I really need to tweet my new single-digit high score of Flappy Bird, or in the case of some other titles, that I’m playing the game in the first place? What exactly is the point of posting an Uber cab ride to Facebook?

Let’s be honest here… this isn’t social media, this is companies wanting you to do their marketing for them.

Need to Vent, Fading…

I suppose that I can’t complain too much here, as users have the power to deny the social aspect in everything mentioned above — except for the trivia game, which is, unfortunately for me, social by design. I guess the broader point I’m trying to make here is that making your product or service “social” doesn’t necessarily make it any better.

Would you agree?