Why I Downloaded a Fake Social Networking App

As someone living with Aspergers syndrome, I find myself drawn to a lot of obsessive behavioural loops in my daily schedule. I have a built in need to keep up to date onj information, to track the things going on in the world, and to not feel like I’ve allowed myself to fall behind on anything. Paired with the fact my job necessitates the use of social media sites like Twitter to get my work shared, and the end result is me being ever so slightly addicted to keeping track of my Twitter feeds, notifications, DM’s and mentions.

I’m also a relatively prominent trans woman on the internet, and a lot of people dedicate their time to making social media an unpleasent place for me to spend my time.

Sometimes these two specific parts of my life clash, and I will find myself obsessively checking my Twitter feed in the midst of a shitstorm of nasty online vitriol. While I know logically staying off social media during that time would be best, and that when I come back to social media I should resist the urge to read backwards through those avoided mentions, but my obsessive nature makes doing so very tough. I end up obsessively reading negative content and it doesn’t do my mental health any good.

This is where Binky comes in.

Binky is a fake social media app for iOS and Android devices that acts as an amalgam of a few different social media archetypes. You don’t log into anything, you don’t need to be online to use it, and you’re just given a fake social media feed to scroll. Images pop up on your timeline, ranging from foods to celebrities to animals to inventions. You can swipe them to the side to denote them as good or bad things. You can ReBink things (this looks like ReTweeting, but the app reminds you every time that this actually does nothing). You can like things, or you can mash your keyboard to leave silly nonsensicle light hearted comments on posts.

Nobody sees anything you do in the app. There’s no notifications feed of people responding to your activity. It’s social media theatre, and it has functioned as a legitimately useful proxy for obsessive social media scrolling when people online are being absolute arseholes.

It may seem pointless to use a social media platform that isn’t building towards anything or connective in nature, but that’s kind of the point. For many of us the actions of social media are routine, are compulsive, are things we do out of a need rather than a desire.

Sometimes it’s just nice to be reminded how pointless it all kind of is, and obsess away in a sandbox that’s a bit more friendly to the user.

Categories: Disability

7 replies »

  1. I’m not trying to be rude, I really love your work…but have you thought about using a proofreading tool like Grammarly, etc? It helped me a lot in my work, and I think it’s really useful because after a while your spelling automatically improves. Again, not trying to be condescending in any way.

    • If you start a comment/post/whatever with “I’m not trying to be rude, but” (or some variation of that) they I’m afraid you not only are being rude, but you know it and are doing it deliberately.

      • It’s not my intention at all. I’m a professional translator (albeit not in English), but I have to write in English a lot in a professional environment a lot. The reason that I commented is that I know what it’s like to have your writing to be an object of scrutiny and I wanted to give a friendly advice.

      • So are you saying that you have never been afraid your tone might be misinterpreted? Tone can be a very difficult thing to convey over the internet. While I’m not sure whether phrases like “I’m not trying to be rude but” really remedy it effectively, that is seemingly what they are attempting to do.

        Personally, I’m not so sure such a thing is necessary for her own personal site as opposed to LPVG but the commentor does have a point.

  2. Seeing this pop up on Twitter I wondred why anyone would sign up to a ‘social network’ that wasn’t actually connecting to anyone else, but reading the article made it absolutely clear to me. It’s a solution to a problem that most people probably wouldn’t ever think of but is absolutely sensible with just a few moments thought.

  3. I cut social media out of my life recently and gradually weaned off Facebook and Twitter via using Mastodon in a very limited manner on specific safe instances. Unfortunately I found out that I can’t use any highly interactive social media at all (and even blog commenting is somewhat fraught), including Mastodon, because the information flow is too addictive to me.

    (My brain is very non-NT, but no one knows if I actually fall under a diagnosis. How I process information is extremely weird, but basically my brain thirsts for a constant data flow and actually becomes sluggish without one.)

    If I get weird cravings I may try Binky out.

    • Update: oh my goodness I’m so glad I found out about Binky through you, Laura, it’s helping so much.

      I actually quit Twitter cold turkey with Binky, and successfully resisted the siren call of other social media places like the amino art site.

      … it’s really weird how much of my day exists now that I don’t spend time on social media. I still have an instagram but… I don’t feel like I need validation through it any more.

      So strange. But nice.

      No more Facebook, no more Twitter, no more Mastodon, no more being attracted to random social media sites to try to perform for glory. I still have my instagram, but while I still use it to look at pictures, I don’t try to get likes anymore on it.

      It’s freeing. And I have so many hours in the day now.