It is often said that there is no such thing as a bad idea. But this maxim fails to take into account the sheer stupidity of humans.
This is evidenced by the yet to be released Peeple, an app described as Yelp for people that allows Facebook users to submit reviews of fellow humans on the social network as if they were products to be reviewed in an online store. What could possibly go wrong with that?
Now, Sneak cares little for the feelings of others, preferring a smug detachment from the concerns of the average selfie-taking twerp he encounters along the highways of the internet.
But clearly his ambiguous stance on humanity is nothing compared with Peeple founders and, ironically, marketers Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough, who may have forgotten how the internet works.
You know the internet, where misogynists, racists, misanthropes and just a lot of angry men lurk, waiting to pounce on anyone putting their head above the virtual parapet.
So from Sneak's point of view the Peeple app is a recipe for disaster akin to Edward Snowden enabling the location settings on his Twitter account.
Peeple's website claims that the app will allow you to "rate and comment about the people you interact with in your daily lives on the following three categories: personal, professional and dating".
"Peeple will enhance your online reputation for access to better quality networks, top job opportunities, and promote more informed decision making about people," the company said, presumably swallowing naivety-boosting pills and forgetting how judgmental the average human is.
Sneak doesn't need his crystal ball, which is currently out of batteries, to predict that the opposite of Peeple's ambitions will be realised.
Facebook trolls will no doubt delight in rating their so-called Facebook friends poorly for cheap laughs, while disgruntled former lovers or colleagues may use the service as a way of getting revenge against those who may have slighted them. And the sheer scope for online bulling and victimisation is almost unparalleled.
Peeple claims that the reviews are not anonymous and that negative ratings will be held for 48 hours allowing the reviewed to check their rating.
But the founders seem to have missed the fact that their app will still expose those being reviewed to potentially abusive comments, regardless of whether they are being made public or not.
Furthermore, negative reviews cannot be deleted, just not displayed. Then to rub a grain of salt into the virtual wound, it appears that users can't remove themselves from Peeple's database.
So congratulations Peeple for creating abuse-as-a-service.
Peeple also claims to be anti-abusive, but given that Facebook has an audience of nearly 1.5 billion users, Sneak highly doubts that Cordray and McCullough will be pulling all-nighters going through comments, such as "she needs to eat a burger", or "he's got no swag", and "I hate his glasses".
The BBC reported that the people are already in an uproar over Peeple, and that the app has been described as creepy and terrifying.
Sporting a god complex, Cordray told the BBC that the furore is just a reaction to change. "When people found out that the earth was round instead of flat and that we revolved around the sun instead of the sun revolving around us, naturally people were upset and confused and they pushed back with all that they had," she said.
Sneak just face-palmed his head so hard the smack generated a soundwave strong enough to crack the previously mentioned crystal ball.
Cordray also took to Facebook to try to dispel media opinions that Peeple is a metric tonne of stupid, fuelled with a tanker full of ignorance.
She accused the media of failing to do its research into how Peeple works and suggested that users visit the Peeple website. Like any good media figure, Sneak did just that only to find the website was not working.
Sneak hopes that Cordray and McCullough sort out the parameters of Peeple to rigorously prevent it from being a bullying tool du jour, or kill the app completely and stick to their day jobs.
Otherwise Sneak will rate them to be five stars worthy of being fired directly into the sea.
Sneak loves WhatsApp. It's fun and easy to use and so what if it's owned by Facebook? The company only has his best interests at heart. In fact, he was pleased when Facebook bought it, as he hoped they would fix the problem that seemed to be plaguing him - undelivered messages.
To Sneak the uniform lack of response to messages he sent to friends, potential lovers and even family was clear: WhatsApp wasn't delivering the message. Sure the two little ticks appeared confirming delivery, but if that was the case - WHY DOES NO-ONE EVER REPLY? It was the fault of the technology, surely?
However, WhatsApp has now dealt a cruel blow with the inclusion of 'blue ticks' that inform you when your messages have been read - and invariably not replied to.
The note to Steve from accounts on Friday at 5:25pm asking if he fancied a pint? Read and ignored. The message to Louise, the nice coder he met at the SQL Singles night, that took literally days to compose? Dismissed. The message to mum looking for a crumb of comfort after his beloved cat Mr Tickles died? Utterly snubbed.
These little Blue Ticks of Doom, as Sneak has dubbed them, have no doubt already caused misery and heartbreak for millions around the world who can no longer delude themselves that their missives have still not been read, never arrived in the first place, or were intercepted by the National Security Agency.
No, the cold hard truth is that they were read, the eyes rolled, and they were ignored. Still at least you love me, right Mr Tickles 2? Hey, Mr Tickles, come back ...
Much like the way the Oscar-winning film Gravity demonstrated the danger of space junk crashing into everything, Sneak has discovered a critical flaw in the plans of the tech industry's biggest players.
Amazon, Google and Facebook all have intentions for flying vehicles, intended to spread internet access and DVD box sets of Mrs Brown's Boys, but what if those worlds collide?
Sneak has drawn a diagram to demonstrate:
Notice how Google's Project Loon balloon sails on air currents at varying levels high up in the atmosphere to deliver internet access. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg's model aeroplane – AKA the Titan Aerospace drone – is flying at a stable altitude doing the same job. Let's then envisage Amazon's ludicrous Prime Air drone delivery vehicle getting caught in a gust of wind. Disaster. No internet or mediocre comedy for anyone.
If space junk can collide with satellites in space, imagine what will happen in our world below the atmosphere: it's a lot smaller than space, as it turns out.
As much as these companies don't like to work with each other, they have to form some sort of united airspace agreement to ensure we aren't suddenly caught in a hailstorm of expensive flying tech.
You have been warned.
Facebook has revealed that it has been working on a 'sympathise' button to replace the 'like' function we've all become so familiar with.
During a Q&A session at a Facebook Compassion Research Day, the firm attempted to find out how to better engage users emotionally and increase harmony on the social network between friends who may not be getting along.
For example, one presentation showed how reminding a user how long they've known a friend for and the interests they share reduces the likelihood of them following through with a complaint about a post.
Another, the BBC reports, involves taking into account the mood of a post and to then display a sympathise or like button accordingly. There are, however, no plans to launch this feature at the moment.
It is an interesting idea, although Sneak thinks it would be much better to give users the choice to 'sympathise' with any post. For example, the most common life events for Facebook users this year were new relationships, engagements and marriages. Want to subtly show your disapproval? 'Sympathise' with someone who's got married. Checked in at a bad venue? Sympathise.
Speaking of check-ins, the UK's most popular destination for users tagging themselves is The O2 in London, while the most discussed topic of the year globally was Pope Francis. The royal baby only ranked third, with Facebook users seemingly following the papal story more religiously. Bizarrely, in the UK the royal baby ranked even lower, fourth behind Andy Murray, Margaret Thatcher and the UEFA Champions League final.
Sneak offers his sympathy to Borussia Dortmund.
15 Jan 2013
As the pizza boxes pile mounting by the bin can attest, Sneak's New Year diet is not going to plan. Of course, Sneak knows only too well that his lack of self control hasn't helped matters, but this inability to ignore the alluring call of a 15in stuffed crust deep pan with extra mozzarella and sausage is not proof of a personality defect. As it turns out, Sneaks complete lack of willpower is entirely Facebook's fault.
At least that's the interpretation Sneak had from reading a newly released piece of research from the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia Business School.
Researchers Andrew Stephen and Keith Wilcox studied 1,000 Facebook users to see how their experience of using the social networking site impacted their lives. They found users that had strong ties with friends via Facebook were more likely to experience an increase in self-esteem, which is nice for them.
“We find that people experience greater self-esteem when they focus on the image they are presenting to strong ties in their social networks," said Wilcox. "This suggests that even though people are sharing the same positive information with strong ties and weak ties on social networks, they feel better about themselves when the information is received by strong ties than by weak ties."
But the researchers discovered this was a double-edged sword. So while users felt better about themselves after using Facebook, they also showed far less self control after doing so.
“The results suggest that greater social network use is associated with a higher body-mass index, increased binge eating, a lower credit score, and higher levels of credit-card debt for individuals with strong ties to their social network," they wrote.
The research has been published by the Journal of Consumer Research.
Given Sneak's Facebook habit and the advent of online pizza ordering, little wonder the diet has gone for a burton.
It may only be a few days in to 2013, but it looks like being another year where Sneak will spend it desperately trying to pay off embarrassingly large bills. For once though, this isn't the result of festive largess, but purely because Sneak was trying to be helpful.
For the past few years, Sneak has been sending sage advice to social networking wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg via his Facebook site. After all, being a young billionaire, and lacking experience of the world outside Silicon Valley, can be hard.
So Sneak is pretty sure his advice – on sartorial matters (gentlemen are allowed to wear garments other than hoodies), interior design (spray painting may look edgy, but a nice frame with a poster featuring a motivational buzz phrase does more for office morale, and is easier to change when you tire of it), and relaxation techniques (bikram yoga can soothe away stress and is likely to get you in to less trouble with Peta than butchering animals) – has been well received.
Indeed, after polishing off the left over brandy sauce from Christmas recently, Sneak was inspired to send Zuck scores of messages, advising the young pup how to make social networking less creepy and intrusive.
Trouble is, Sneak has only recently been alerted to the fact that it now costs $100 for Facebook users that don't follow Zuck to send him a message – and Sneak has to be careful about who he lets see his timeline.
Apparently the charges have been introduced as Facebook explores ways to cut back spam. It's a worthy effort, but one that means Sneak will spend another January glued to eBay, watching to see how much the unwanted Christmas pressies might raise. Pair of tiger-print lycra yoga shorts anyone? How about a onesie?
Sneak was overjoyed to see Facebook pass the one billion user milestone this week - what a happy community of people all updating and clicking and posting and liking and poking we are.
To celebrate this event Facebook commissioned its first ever advert and the results are, well, interesting to say the least.
In a bizarre piece of pseudo-intellectualism the advertising agency charged with the task of making Facebook seem cool again, Wieden and Kennedy, hit upon the intriguing notion that Facebook is like a chair, or a doorbell, or a dancefloor.
This is, you see, because these things help us connect, as Facebook does - give 'em a kipper! How many latte-drinking, designer-beard-wearing, suits-and-Converse wearing muppets did it take to make that connection?
The advert then goes on to say that because the universe is so big we often wonder if we're alone - which is true, with regards the universe itself, but not life, where we're surrounded by other people - but Facebook, like doorbells, reminds us "we are not" alone. Brilliant logic.
Sneak's favourite bit comes about half way through, though, when the advertising copy writer clearly forgot to think of a third thing that people share, but never got around to updating it and the agency probably though it was genius by its idiocy.
"Doorbells, airplanes, bridges...these are thing that people use to get together, so they can open up and connect about ideas and music and other things that people share."
‘Other things that people share?' Couldn't they thing of one more thing beyond "music" and "ideas". And "ideas" is a fairly nebulous concept anyway.
Sneak could have done a lot better. Here, have a read of this:
"Facebook - bringing people together to share drunken photos, write grammatically incorrect statuses and portray a life far more interesting than it really is to people they don't really like."
If your one big investment to date had been at the outset of social media trailblazer Facebook then Sneak reckons, chances are, you'd back your business acumen.
So it's of little surprise that the infamous Winklevoss twins are once again in the business-backing game.
They've been briefing the Wall Street Journal on plans to sink $1m into a online investors community SumZero – mere pocket change for the minted duo, enriched by Facebook's success.
Of course, when that one big investment has also led to headline-grabbing court cases and less-than-flattering films, some investors might want to keep a lower profile. Not so the twins.
Sneak has long since concluded that it takes a special sort of person to get in to a battle with Mark Zuckerberg and come out looking the less likeable. But if any professionals know what it's like to be unpopular, it's the bankers and brokers.
So it may just be that the Winklevoss twins may have found kindred spirits in an online community for hedge fund managers and private equity investors.