Monday, July 10, 2006

Who says there's no common culture in New York?

Today, my roommate and I discuss the pros and cons of a new technology called Dodgeball, which helps lazy urban people find their friends on a Saturday night by pinging them with text messages on their cell phones whenever they are within 10 blocks of each other. It's actually sort of brilliant. It depresses me, though, because it's another nail in the coffin of people making actual plans.

The way they address "crushes" is even more brilliant, and allows a person to be even more shy and apathetic than previously thought possible, and still maybe get a date. I think this will spell the end of civilized society/dating as we know it, but I think it's brilliant nonetheless (and it's not like my dating's been going so well lately.) Remember my serendipity theory? Well try this on for size, as a way to bring serendipity back to an over-technologized world:

Dodgeball is all about bringing people together... we'll tell your friends where you are, we'll let you know if friends-of-friends are nearby, but what about that cute girl or guy that you have nothing in common with? How are we going to hook you up?

Simple... crush lists. Whenever you check-in, we'll check to see if any of your crushes are nearby. If so, we'll send a message to your phone letting you know that someone on your crush list (we won't tell you who!) is somewhere within 10 blocks (we won't tell you where!).

At the same time we'll ping them with a message letting your crush know where you are...and if they have a camera phone, we'll send your picture along too. Who knows - if they think you're cute, maybe your crush will stop by.

Oh yeah, 5 crushes per person please. This isn't a brothel.

In this post, I am trying to persuade my roommate to be an early adopter, and he's having none of it. I'm figuring: at least since nobody will make plans with me 'ahead of time,' at least we could make it easier to find each other once 'time' itself has arrived. He's figuring, they will probably send him a lot of spam.

I have decent early adopter credibility, but it would irk me to use my real-life connections to promote somebody's product, and then maybe it would turn out to not work very well or they would in fact send him lots of spam on his cell phone, at 5 cents per. But I can't very well figure out if it will work unless all my friends sign up.

The following thoughtful dialogue began when I sent him an invitation to join this site.

On 7/10/06, roommate wrote:
Is this from you? I don't recognize this email address. It's mad
eery if it's not from you, because basically this "Melina" person
wants to be able to track me at all times via GPS. It's either you,
or some NSA agent trying to lure me into some sort of email flirtation
with a girl who goes by "Melina" in order to know my whereabouts.
Whoever runs it seems to know I was at Luna Park on Friday, or targets
a demographic that might resonably be found there, and wants to
concentrate them all in one place...

On 7/10/06, Melina wrote:
haha. yeah. this is my junk mail email address be/c i was worried
they'd send me a lot of spam.

On 7/10/06, roommate wrote:
i guess it isn't that safe to go on the online dates with an email
address that identifies you to potential online stalkers. i realized
it had your bday in it just now, so you weren't a government spy.

On 7/10/06, roommate wrote:
pretty soon they'll use that to blast you with the lasers from the
missile defense satellite.

On 7/10/06, Melina wrote:
yeah. could be.

On 7/10/06, roommate wrote:
can i put things like fetish clubs, the urologist, etc. it won't be
long until some criminal who is hiding out gets busted this way.

On 7/10/06, Melina wrote:
sure why not. just text your list: "@urologist. please join!"

On 7/10/06, roommate wrote:
that's just the name of a strip club i sometimes attend, not my actual
urologist's name. for that i'd have to do"! @ Dr. Norman
Schmookleberg, MD: please join! - getting cialis scrip & wart freeze

On 7/10/06, Melina wrote:
yeah, that really puts the "dodge" in dodgeball. You could try to
think of the worst possible events to make sure your friends stay as
far away as possible. A relevant example from today would be:

"@62nd street! Blowing up my gas line!"

On 7/10/06, roommate wrote:
good one! i guess it's basically like a police scanner that is
contacted by 911 dispatchers. police do work that way to get people
to the scene of an emergency asap. you could also use this technology
to create an chip to implant in your significant other to make sure
he/she isn't making a cuckold of you. this is where we're headed.
i'm watching my girlfriend and Michael Chertoff is watching me, and no one is
watching our nations ports and chemical plants.



At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The young and the restless and therestofus. Mmmm mmm.

Keep em coming!


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