Pokemon Go is on another level. It was released in the U.S. four days ago and it's expected to surpass Twitter in number of daily active users in the next two days (it's already soared past Tinder). What's crazier is that the app is being used for an average of 43 minutes, 23 seconds a day, a number significantly higher than Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, and Messenger. It seems that even American volunteers fighting ISIS are addicted to it.
While walking in the San Francisco Botanical Garden today, I saw nearly 20 groups of people hellbent on catching Pokemon. These were people looking at their iPhones, occasionally flicking the screen, and walking around erratically. The cashier at the Japanese Tea Garden was playing it. The group of kindergarteners were playing it. The two senior citizens were playing it. It was absolutely surreal. This was a secret world that only Pokemon Go users knew about, and there were constant smiles as people walked by each other and noticed each other playing Pokemon Go. There were a couple of groups of strangers that gave each other pointers. And I'm far from the only one to have made observations about this very evident change in human behavior on a large scale. As one person has noted, "[I] haven't seen this level of shared street experience with strangers since 9/11 in NYC."
There are quite a few people that think that this is a fad. I really hope it's not. Although this is anecdotal, the app seems to have, practically overnight, encouraged millions of people to explore, exercise, and bond with each other in public. Yea, this bodes well for the future of augmented reality, but more importantly, it injects some community back into a world that currently so desperately needs it.