Thursday, April 28, 2011


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.)


markmier said...

I remember "finger"ing various coke machines around the world (I remember Carnegie Mellon and MIT? and I know there were others) circa 1994. The unix command "finger" (and yes, many many jokes were made) would give the status of an account, and geeks had given various soda machines accounts to reflect their temperature, which slots were full or empty, etc.

Random thought. Seems like things would have advanced more between then and now.

The Ridger, FCD said...

Not to dump on your poem, but even buying the stereotype that all of "them" have no friends they've ever met in person, surely they could send their online friends a Pepsi?

Cuttlefish said...

Go ahead and dump! I was halfway through verse 2 when the ending suggested itself--it uses an inaccurate and offensive stereotype, and deserves to be dumped on!

And yes (the short version). Plus, I probably have met dozens or scores of people I knew online first and who became real life friends. Roughly four of whom know I am Cuttlefish, but that's a different story.

Melissa said...

These people never think before they speak, do they?

Instead of sodas, can we make social vending machines that distribute beer? No one would have to think about my b-day and x-mas gifts.

Cuttlefish said...

I soooooo hope you are right, Melissa! The alternative is that they do think before they speak, and are in office because they say what their constituents want to hear!

Die Anyway said...

> "...inaccurate and offensive stereotype,..."

Inaccurate - possibly, but not completely. Offensive - c'mon, those of us who are friendless are not so easily offended.
The poem was funny, the idea of tweeting somebody that they've got a free Pepsi (on me) if they go to the machine is sort of stupid. I don't buy sodas for people now, why would I do it just because I could contact the machine electronically?
But then there are a lot of billionaires out there who made money off of ideas that I thought sucked. So don't go by my opinion.

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