June 26, 2012, 1:56 PM — Ruby W. hates her boss. Mick M. has got a wicked hangover. Lovely Leanne just got herself got some new digits, while Rahim L. is smokin’ de ganga, mon, and thinks you should light up a spliff too.
I don’t know any of these people from Adam. But I know more about them than I probably should, thanks to a new Web site called “We know what you’re doing…. and we think you should stop.”
Using the APIs of Facebook and Foursquare, WKWYD mines the public status updates and check-ins of random strangers and republishes them, telling us who’s unhappy at work, been partying a bit too hard, or is a little too generous with their contact information.
This “experiment” is the product of 18-year-old British Web developer Callum Haywood, who is now just a bit more famous than he was 24 hours ago. According to Haywood’s Twitter feed, more than 100,000 people have visited WKWYD in its first 27 hours of existence – most likely thanks to a brief writeup by TheNextWeb’s Drew Olanoff. When I visited, the site displayed a message saying it’s struggling to keep up with all the traffic it’s getting.
WKWYD is kind of the bastard offspring of Openbook.com (where you can search public Facebook status updates in real time) and Please Rob Me (which gathered public check-ins from Foursquare and its ilk, alerting strangers when you’d be away from home – or did, until its creators felt their point had been made and retired it). The key difference is that Haywood is a bit more careful to avoid revealing too many details about the subjects of his experiment.
Users are listed by first name and last initial only, and unlike Openbook or Please Rob Me, you can’t immediately jump to the profile of the person who stupidly just called his boss a term normally associated with basic bodily functions, or call up the home address of the person who just left for a three week camping trip.
And that’s a good thing. Take this post from Anastasia R., for example:
I’m getting so mad right now I hate my boss Jay I hope he dies better yet I feel like killin him if you in a bad mood don't take it out on everyone at the job like wtf its way to hot to take your s***