Tickle: The App That Dissolves Awkward Encounters


An app that would have saved us all from the average “2.5 times per week” we encounter awkward situations, Tickle describes itself as “an app to help rescue you from these unfortunate social experiences,” according to its promotional video. A method that has required a real person to make that call to excuse you from a bad blind date, Tickle just requires your hand, your phone, and the impetus of an awkward experience to let you receive the call that gets you out of it.

Making your phone sensitive to the most awkward touches, Tickle requires just the slightest phone petting to activate a false call to your cell that will allow you to excuse yourself from, say, the moment after you make an insensitive joke about bald people around your toupee-wearing co-worker. Just when you think the uncomfortable silence following your faux pas will never end, your phone rings. Then all you have to do is politely excuse yourself with a concerned look on your face as you ask the nonexistent caller, “Is everything okay?”

Cooked up by Alex Cornell and Phil Mills in San Francisco, the app purports not only to respond to your subtle touch, but also to begin recognizing when you’re around the people and situations that have a pattern for making you feel uncomfortable.

An impressive and useful device, Tickle, alas, is as fake as the calls it makes to your cell. This is no surprise coming from Tickle “creator” Cornell, who came out with the fake app Jotly, which lets you “rate everything…even yourself” back in 2011. Since then, Jotly has become a real, usable app.

As told by Tech Crunch, Cornell not so long ago left his position as the co-founder of Firespotter to work on Internet parodies like Tickle, for which he “teamed up with fellow Jotly co-conspirator Phil Mills.”

It’s almost a shame that Tickle doesn’t exist. It seems like an easy to control, get-out-of-jail free card from encounters that probably occur above the 2.5 per week average that the “promotional video” suggests. Fortunately for those who believe in Tickle, Tech Crunch reports that Cornell has no problem with someone actually building his spoof of an app.

Watch the video to decide on the mock app’s usefulness yourself: