Social Network Devices

Monday, March 29 2004

I have the ultimate pleasure of driving my new car on tiny farm roads to and from work in Oregon’s fantastic spring weather. As I was flying home tonight in the dusk, I came around a bend and saw a guy pedaling a bike. Having supremely keen eyes, I saw him from a mile away, but it occurred to me that he should really have had some kind of reflective strip on his back.

Then an idea hit me (or more like crawled out of the fog and startled me). It would be great if I could tell this guy that he should indeed have a stripe. But I couldn’t just pull over and chat it up, because that would break his stride, and he might even think I was being a nit picker. So it made sense to me that it would be great if I could just audibly say “Hey man, a reflective stripe might save you from getting flattened”, without slowing down, and have it show up as voicemail on his phone, or as a text message. He could have some device that allowed people to “page” him without interrupting his athletic endeavors and I could nit pick, anonymously.

I love the idea of social network devices, and the latter idea is one of those, in a way. I think it would be great (and totally scary) to be walking in Manhattan and to have a radar view of your friends, or people who you might be interested in meeting because they too liked popping bubblewrap. I anxiously anticipate the day.