Crystal Knows: A creepy app that stalks users to deliver personalized communication

By Sadia Arshad on
May 4, 2015
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It is finally here. There is an app that is taking stalking to another level. CrystalKnows is a communication app that helps users customize email communication based on the recipient’s unique personality and is surprisingly dubbed as being “eerily accurate” by many users who have experimented with it so far.

I am generally very cynical when it comes to all these internet-based personality tests and quizzes (add communication apps to the list now) that claim to assess people’s personalities through a handful of silly questions. Only if it were that simple. So when I first came across this news my reaction was: “Pfft. Yeah right. Definitely a hoax.” However, reading further into the story genuinely surprised me.

By allowing users to tailor their communication style based on their recipient’s personal preferences, Crystal intends to make “communication with empathy” a possibility for its users. And in doing so the app claims to be the biggest improvement to email communication since spell check.

So how does Crystal really know stuff about your personality? As a matter of fact, it puts a lot of effort into it. Along with asking other users who visit a person’s profile to fill in details about the person, Crystal stalks users’ public data on other networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to scrape information that helps build personality profiles. These personality profiles then allow the app to assess the way users communicate and interact. Users can then draft and customize their emails based on their audience’s communication preferences.

There has been so far a mixed reaction to the app with some users welcoming it as an accurate improvement and others categorizing it under the likes of a horoscope. While the app does bring a lot more to the communication table by providing customized guidelines for user interaction, it has its share of problems. For instance, you’re probably going to lose your unique tone of communication if you base your communication style on your audience’s preferences rather than your own right? The loss may not be as important for individuals as it may be for bigger brands and businesses. Also scraping information about users with a less regularly updated online presence may prove to be difficult.

The app wont have to invest so much effort for its users in Pakistan I suppose because we already have our share of desi Crystals (read: nosy neighbors and the always-interested relatives) who already know more about us than we do ourselves. Who needs Facebook and Twitter for all that dirty digging then right? Jokes apart, the promise of communication with empathy definitely makes the app worth a shot if you’re looking to impress people by reciprocating their communication styles. All the best with that!

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