Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Helio Stranger Beacon- the next step in connected anonymity?

[inspired by Helio Buddy Beacon]

Connected anonymity? Or is that anonymous connectivity? Call it what you like.

The time is right to sell technology for singling out and "pairing" with an individual for SMS, walkie-talkie, or video communication via cell phone. I'm calling it, "The Opt-in, Directional, GPS-Enabled Proximity Communicator/Buddy Finder." Or Helio Stranger Beacon, for kicks.

This is inevitable... the result of the cultural influence of social networking sites, IM, SMS, Second Life, and voice-chat-enabled online gaming.

The next step is for someone in REAL LIFE to feel compelled to point to someone and ADD TO BUDDY LIST. Of course, the someone would have to approve the buddy add, after opting-in to being online. Users would always have block/invisibility options, just like with other connected/anonymous services.

Stay with me here... Aren't you tired of vehicle-to-vehicle communications being limited to smiles, bird flipping, honking, word mouthing, and "go-ahead" gesturing? Have we forgotten the CB Radio craze of the 1970s? What happened with that, anyway?

I think the public is ready. I've watched enough users talk to strangers on xBox live, Playstation, and IM to understand this will be adopted by a young audience. Maybe delayed slightly by the typical fear-mongering we have seen with all of the previous technologies. But scary news will always be scary news, and predators will always be predators. Abuse, harassment, stalking, and predatory behaviors can be extended to any technology.

Once we get over those fears, I think we will all be flipping on our "stranger beacons" when we hit the road or arrive at any large social gathering.

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