Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Integrating Social Media And Reality

We live in two separate worlds, with one foot in each. There’s the virtual world of texting, email, online shopping, Internet search, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN. Then there’s the real world of food, shelter, family, friends, and work. The two intersect, but they’re not tied together in any robust way. Well, at least until now.

It only makes sense that someone would come up with a solution to link the virtual and physical worlds we live in. That solution is something called Poken. As you might suspect, it has both physical and virtual components.

The physical component is called a Poken. It’s an electronic gadget packaged to look like an avatar or a flash memory device. The business end of the device is encapsulated in a white four fingered hand that has a button in the palm and lights that glow from within. What you can’t see is a coil antenna, microprocessor, USB drivers and a watch style battery.

The way you use Poken is to carry the device on a lanyard around your neck or clipped to your jacket, backpack, or bag. When you encounter someone else with a Poken you can request an exchange of contact data, much the same as requesting or offering a business card. Touch the hands of the Poken together and they’ll sense each other’s presence. After a wireless exchange of links, both hands will pulsate with a green glow to announce their success in the encounter.

Now for the virtual component. You plug the USB connector of your Poken into your computer and automatically upload the day’s contacts to your Poken Hub, a personalized online portal. After entering your ID and password, you can see your contacts organized in lists or displayed as virtual business cards along a timeline. Unlike paper cards or scraps of paper that you’ve used to jot down names and phone numbers, the Poken Cards show a photo of your contact.

Being able to see pictures of the people you’ve met displayed along a timeline makes it easy to remember where you met someone and who else you met at the same time. But that’s just the half of it. Those Poken Cards, the virtual representation of a business card or address book entry, have names, phone numbers, addresses and website links. It’s whatever information you and those you meet have chosen to share. The popular social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN have familiar link icons on the card. There’s also room for hyperlinks to other sites, such as your blog or business website.

This is how Poken tightly integrates the process of meeting people in person with meeting them again online at the familiar social networking sites. You don’t have to think about who goes with what site, because it’s all tied together on the Poken cards you’ve collected.

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