No, it's not the new Twitter (according LAWeekly.com sources that's mobile phone app foursquare) but a Dutch woman giving away weird things in the Hilton lobby is so totally #SXSW that we thought it was newsworthy.
Why? Because when you have to ask someone “is that your stack of business cards or mine?” you know that the system is way past its prime.
Enter Renate Nyborg – she's the the face of “Poken,” which is like a Kindle for business cards. The adorable mini USBs come with a strap which you ostensibly wear around your neck in the chance that you will run into someone with which you will have to exchange networking info – ordinary stuff like your address as well as more of the moment things like your Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Provided the other person also owns one, you can touch them together (they'll glow) and the USB hub beams your info, which you set up through the Web site www.doyoupoken.com. As Nyborg emphasizes, Poken is the first attempt at “finding a manageable solution to bringing social networking into the real world.”
Targeting students, kids (remember virtual pets?), and media people who do a lot of networking (no kidding!), Pokens are already viral in Holland, where according to Nyborg, they are used by 3% of the population. Expected to launch in the U.S. in a few months, the Poken will be subject to the classic network effect, “If everybody has one, everybody needs one.” The challenge here is that if no one has one, no one needs one, so we're keeping our fingers crossed we will be able to put ours to good use.
And besides, beaming is cool.