They text or tweet, they poke or wink
They live their lives online
They post or like or blog or link
And, virtually, they’re fine.
With laptops, tablets, phones or more
It’s pure online enmeshment
Now Pepsi gives a chance to pour
A “Random Act of Refreshment”
With Social Vending, you can send
A drink to quench the thirst
Of real-life, human, meatspace friends…
You’ll have to make some, first.
Pepsi (you may remember them from ScienceBlogs) have announced a Social Vending Machine. When I say "a" SVM, I mean there is only one, at present. Right now, it's at the trade show for the National Automatic Merchandising Association in Chicago. So it's not social with other vending machines, at least yet. But users will eventually be able to access such machines from social networks, and use them as part of a different sort of network itself.
At the Union protests in Wisconsin, people from around the world were able to order pizzas from a local shop to be delivered to protesters. The SVM would let you do the same sort of thing, on a different scale. You could Buy a Mountain Dew for your son or daughter at school, have Warcraft losers buy a round for the winners, or whatever.
Oddly enough, I think my favorite use would be the sarcastic gift. Long, long ago, when the internet was in diapers, a BBS site I knew had an area dedicated to HACAASASTFU (Have A Coke And A Smile And Shut The Fuck Up). I propose that a SVM be installed in, say, Sally Kern's office, so that when she opens her yap, she can input carbonated sugar-water instead of spewing filth.
Here's to you, Sally. HACAASASTFU.
(yes, I know the machine is Pepsi, and the old jingle is coke. Neither is single malt, so it's all sugar water to me.)