If your phone battery is about to run out, a new app lets you share the experience. Die With Me is a text chat room that’s only accessible when your battery level is below five percent.
The creators describe it as an art project rather than a genuinely useful tool. It was inspired by the experience of feeling helpless when a phone died while visiting an unfamiliar city.
Other than the battery requirement, it’s an unspectacular set-up: a plain text chat window where each user selects a temporary username that’s displayed along with their current battery level.
The five percent level is designed to be the sweet spot of the app being functional but inducing stress about how long the conversation will last. While it varies depending on the handset, users usually only get a few minutes.
The fact that users know the conversation will be fleeting and that they will almost certainly never talk to one another again (or have an opportunity to say goodbye) apparently creates a range of approaches. Besides the inevitable folk unleashing abuse, there’s a mix of panicked smalltalk and philosophy about reliance on technology.