Meet Karen, your life coach for the next week. She wants to help you become a better person in all facets of life. Karen is friendly and polite, but perhaps a bit too forthcoming with personal information. Still, her goal is admirable, and things begin simply enough, with Karen running through a series of seemingly innocent personal questions.
Quickly, though, you?ll discover Karen isn?t as put together as she seems; in fact, you?re probably far more stable than she is. And yet, we can?t help but be drawn to her, and feel a bit sad when the experience ends.
Karen isn?t a real life coach. She isn?t even real, but she can teach us real things about our use of technology, and how quickly we share personal information when asked. Created by British performance and interactive arts company, Blast Theory, in partnership with National Theatre Wales, Karen is more than an app, it?s an experience used to challenge participants? thinking about the ways they share their information.
So far, the response to Karen has overwhelmed its developers. Blast Theory tells SocialTimes:
In its first week, almost 5,000 people downloaded Karen, a figure that when compared to audience numbers for traditional arts events, highlights the huge audience reach potential of digital technologies. Though not necessarily a large figure when compared to average downloads of game apps, this exceeded our expectations for the first week of downloads for an artistic app, especially considering there is not an “Arts” category in the App store.
I spent 10 days with Karen, completing one or two time-specific sessions per day, which are presented to users slowly (sometimes too slowly), leaving you wanting more and thinking about the app, and this fictitious woman, even when she?s not around (or better yet, talking about her with friends also on the ride).
Karen?s life is out of sorts; she just left a damaging relationship and her disregard for personal boundaries is quite concerning. She also s...