App automatically 'Likes' your friends' Instagram photos

Lovematically is an app that takes the drudgery out of being a complete and utter ingratiating fake.

You love me! You really love me! Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

What are you supposed to do when so many of your friends suddenly think they're photographers?

The minute they got Instagram, they believed in their hearts and eyes that they were Mario Testino or Ansel Adams. At the very least, they cannot imagine why National Geographic hasn't called.

You know that, at heart, they're more fragile than "American Idol" contestants. So you dutifully click "Like" on every one of their photos.

But if you're following more than 20 people, this can become more taxing than making sure there's no dirt under your fingernails after a ride on the London subway.

Fortunately, technology is galloping to your rescue. For here, ready for all the quite nauseating Valentine's images you'll have to bear on Instagram, is Lovematically.

This frantically intelligent app claims that it will automatically "Like" your friends' photos for you.

This is kindness of which Mother Teresa would have approved.

Lovematically's creator, Rameet Chawla (who also founded Fueled) believes he is providing an essential social service.

On the Lovematically site, he says: "It's our generation's crack cocaine. People are addicted. We experience withdrawals. We are so driven by this drug, getting just one hit elicits truly peculiar reactions. I'm talking about Likes."

He speaks a truth. A sad truth. The adorable thing is that he admits he's a victim of this truth.

He says: "Pre-Lovematically, my posts would average 35 likes. Now, I routinely hit the triple-digits for Likes."

Yes, you've stumbled into a (mental) weight-loss ad. Welcome.

Lovematically inveigles its way into Instagram's API and then gives you what you crave: the ability to "Like" 150 photographs of each of your friends. Without stiffening your finger in order to click a button.

Chawla claims this idea came to him from his personal experiences of love. He said: "I didn't have enough time to hang out on Instagram and 'Like' all of my friends' photos myself, but I still wanted to make sure my friends felt love from me."

It seems his friends may not be able to distinguish between fake love and the real thing. Or, more likely, they just want to create the impression that they are loved, because that will make them feel like worthwhile human beings.

Love, though, is not universal. Even though you might imagine that fake, heartless love is.

On Valentine's Day, Lovematically will suddenly open its bosom to only 5,000 users. These fortunate few will be able to display the full breadth of their insincerity and watch, no doubt, equally vacuous affection coming right back at them.

You'd better be quick, though. Chawla expects that Instagram won't feel loving toward his ingenious suggestion. He expects to be shut down.

He says: "At the end of the day, Lovematically is a modern sociological experiment. How are we affected by Likes? By followers? Is it a physical need? A mental addiction? And when the game is up, how do you feel when you realize that all of those Likes were actually... just... robots?

That's the beauty. People will ignore that it was robots. They will really, truly believe that you loved their filter-enhanced image of a walnut.

Update, 11:47 a.m. PT: In a gesture that suggests neither humor, nor love, nor understanding of the vacuousness of social networking -- and especially not appreciation of disruption -- Instagram has begun to express its displeasure. A note on the Lovematically site says, "Instagram has started to block us. We're seeing what we can do to get back online!"

 

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