Tag Archives: proximity

How to Make Social Networking Even More Annoying

What do you get when you take a social network, add sprinkles of mobile telephony, and throw in a liberal dose of proximity sensing? You get the first “social accessory” that creates a proximity network around you as you move about your daily life. Welcome to the world of a yet another social networking technology startup, this one, called magnetU. The company’s tagline is:

It was only a matter of time before your social desires became wearable!

magnetU markets a wearable device, about the size of a memory stick, that lets people wear and broadcast their social desires, allowing immediate social gratification anywhere and anytime. When a magnetU user comes into proximity with others having similar social profiles the system notifies the user of a match. A social match is signaled as either “attractive”, “hot” or “red hot”. So, if you want to find a group of anonymous but like minds (or bodies) for some seriously homogeneous partying magnetU is for you.

Time will tell whether this will become successful and pervasive, or whether it will be consigned to the tech start-up waste bin of history. If magnetU becomes as ubiquitous as Facebook then humanity be entering a disastrous new phase characterized by the following: all social connections become a marketing opportunity; computer algorithms determine when and whom to like (or not) instantly; the content filter bubble extends to every interaction online and in the real world; people become ratings and nodes on a network; advertisers insert themselves into your daily conversations; Big Brother is watching you!

[div class=attrib]From Technology Review:[end-div]

MagnetU is a $24 device that broadcasts your social media profile to everyone around you. If anyone else with a MagnetU has a profile that matches yours sufficiently, the device will alert both of you via text and/or an app. Or, as founder Yaron Moradi told Mashable in a video interview, “MagnetU brings Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and other online social networks to the street.”

Moradi calls this process “wearing your social desires,” and anyone who’s ever attempted online dating can tell you that machines are poor substitutes for your own judgement when it comes to determining with whom you’ll actually want to connect.

You don’t have to be a pundit to come up with a long list of Mr. McCrankypants reasons this is a terrible idea, from the overwhelming volume of distraction we already face to the fact that unless this is a smash hit, the only people MagnetU will connect you to are other desperately lonely geeks.

My primary objection, however, is not that this device or something like it won’t work, but that if it does, it will have the Facebook-like effect of pushing even those who loathe it on principle into participating, just because everyone else is using it and those who don’t will be left out in real life.

“MagnetU lets you wear your social desires… Anything from your social and dating preferences to business matches in conferences,” says Moradi. By which he means this will be very popular with Robert Scoble and anyone who already has Grindr loaded onto his or her phone.

[div class=attrib]Read the entire article here.[end-div]

[div class=attrib]Image: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Courtesy of Rocketboom.[end-div]