I guess it was bound to happen, social media is getting ready to take the next logical step; into the Real World.
By now most people are familiar with the concept of Web 2.0 but for those who aren't, here it is in a nutshell. Web 2.0 took the static world of web pages (Web 1.0) and added the social and potentially viral nature of community sharing and bookmarking. Examples of Web 2.0 sites are MySpace, FaceBook, Digg and StumbleUpon among hundreds if not thousands of others.
The social networking aspect of Web 2.0 sites quickly took the obvious next step of Social Media Alliances and voting groups. The purpose of these groups is to work as a community to introduce their members' content to the social media public. These alliances are frowned upon by the Web 2.0 sites, therefore, even though their existence is common knowledge, few will admit to participating in them.
The next logical step for social media and networking is to bridge the online and offline world.
Next2Friends is a mobile based social network who's hope is to bring the best of FaceBook and MySpace virtual worlds into the real world. This paragraph from a promotional email describes how it works.
You set up a Next2Friends profile detailing all your likes, dislikes, quirks and everything that makes you who you are. Then, as you move about in the real world, if you have the Next2Friends software loaded onto your Bluetooth and or P2P WIFI enabled mobile device, Next2Friends will automatically collect and match your data to other Next2Friends users you came into close proximity with. When you next sign into your account you’ll receive notification of all the people you passed throughout the day who share your likes, dislikes, and yes, even your quirks. The rest is up to you! After a while you might find yourself wondering, “are you Next2Friends?”
So, as I understand it, you turn your Bluetooth or WIFI mobile device into a tracking beacon and at the end of the day you can see if that guy or girl you sat next to on the buss likes the same things you do. Hmmm...
Is anyone else starting to feel a little creepy?
I mean, if I'm seeing this about them, they're seeing it about me too. I don't want some guy with B.O. who doesn't brush his teeth regularly thinking we were made for each other just because he knows we both like the same band and enjoy watching football.
Can you see it now?
"Hey man, I thought you were going out to the club?"
"Yeah, I did. When I got there I checked my phone and there were only three girls there I had anything in common with and they were all ugly, so I just came home."
Granted, Next2Friends will offer some interesting features like the ability to stream live video from your phone to any or all of your friends, if it works. Another feature is Ask A Friend. It goes like this,
Say you’re out shopping for shoes and you find 3 really great pairs of shoes but you’re not sure which ones go best with your jeans. With Ask-A-Friend you can snap photos of yourself wearing all three pairs and then create an instant opinion poll to send to all your friends for a vote. The results are then sent directly back to you.
I can see some girl telling the saleslady, "I'm waiting for my friends to vote on my poll and tell me if these pants make my butt look fat."
They promise their network is secure.
Worried that this could become a way for people to track you throughout your day? Fear not! Next2Friends’ patent pending technology insures both anonymity and privacy via a highly secure implementation methodology and exclusive encryption algorithms so you will only be seen if and when you want to be seen!
Right. And credit card companies never get hacked either.
Next2Friends is scheduled to open Beta testing on Christmas eve and go live eight days later on January 2nd. It might be interesting but I think I'll pass for now.
I wonder what the next step will be. Any ideas?
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