Tag Archives: poken

Poken are growing up?

Poken Me! It seems like just a few short months ago that I discovered Poken – neat little USB keychain devices which you can touch together when you meet someone else with one, in order to electronically exchange social network IDs and contact information. Actually… it was only a few months ago – we talked about them on Dogear Nation episode 88 in February, and in an example of serendipitous discovery, I picked one up a week later at Twestival in London. I immediately thought the idea was cool, but I was disappointed to discover how much they cost, and how few people had them.

I mentioned Poken in my presentation at SOMESSO a couple of weeks ago. Whilst I love the idea, I simply haven’t come across enough people who have a Poken to have made it worth my while. My basic comment at the time was that I felt they needed to make themselves more widespread in order to be useful. Since then, I’ve continued the discussion in comments on a couple of blogs. To quote myself:

However, I think there are a few issues…

  • [they] cost more than most people are prepared to pay for what is essentially a small capacity but cute looking memory stick, and they are not very readily available;
  • the cuteness factor can also be off-putting to some people, particularly those with a business purpose in mind and the disposable income to buy them;
  • too few core connectors and salesmen have them (see Gladwell’s The Tipping Point), IMHO they should seed more;
  • the value-add of the site (which actually manages the contacts) is low, so the business model is presumably centred on selling the devices.

I had yet another conversation about Poken at a tweetup in London last week, and again heard comment that they were too toy-like for business users, and too few people had them.

Well – things appear to be changing. For want of a better phrase, it seems as though Poken are going slightly more corporate.

In particular, I was delighted to discover that they are being used in a much broader context at IBM’s Information on Demand conference this year – shedding the cute image, and hopefully becoming a bit more widespread.

This is all great stuff. I engaged with the idea of Poken as soon as I heard about the concept, and I hope that I’ll be able to share and manage my information more easily in future. Maybe Poken won’t be the answer, but I’m glad to see the idea broadening out, and hopefully reaching a wider audience.

SOMESSO summary

The nice folks from AudioBoo caught me for a quick interview after my presentation yesterday and you can hear the short summary of what I talked about on their site, or by playing the embedded audio here.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I was also interviewed on camera by Daniel and Eduardo Vidal (hope you feel better soon, Eduardo!)… and my whole presentation was recorded as well, so those should appear over the next couple of weeks.

Oddly I seemed to spend a lot of time discussing Poken after the talk! I guess my use of Poken as a prop at the start of the presentation raised a lot of interest. My mention of Home Camp and sustainability also generated some additional conversations. I also detected a lot of interest as to how IBM had achieved the cultural changes required to adapt to a social web (answer: I’d argue that openness has been in our corporate DNA for some time now), and also in how we put together our Social Computing Guidelines. Again, I would draw attention to one paragraph in the guidelines which I think sums up the approach and background:

In 1997, IBM recommended that its employees get out onto the Internet—at a time when many companies were seeking to restrict their employees’ Internet access. In 2005, the company made a strategic decision to embrace the blogosphere and to encourage IBMers to participate. We continue to advocate IBMers’ responsible involvement today in this rapidly growing space of relationship, learning and collaboration.

I thought the SOMESSO London event was just superb. A series of short (15-20 minute) presentations from some smart people who I was quite frankly honoured to be on the same bill as; and I really didn’t think that there was anything superfluous, it was just great content and information. The Emirates Stadium was a great venue, too… once I’d found my way into the conference centre in the morning, avoiding the queue of contestants lining up for X-Factor auditions! If my camera battery had lasted I would have posted a lot more to Flickr, but I’m afraid there are only a few shots up there.

Thanks to Arjen Strijker, Mary Harrington, Susan Kish and others for putting the day together. On the basis of yesterday’s conference, I highly recommend future events in the series, and would also encourage you to get involved in the SOMESSO community if you are at all interested in social media in the enterprise. I’m really looking forward to following up all of the new connections I made yesterday.

Finally, some links to some of the books I referenced in my talk or during the backchannel conversation: