Pepsi has just revealed a brand new vending machine that's going to change the way we buy drinks and relate with each other. Their new "Be Social" machines allow a purchaser to buy a soft drink in one state for a friend in another -- and send that friend a brief video message.
On the surface, that's really cool technology. But what do we really have to say to each other that we don't cover with the phone, texting, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook? All of those other communication avenues also involve video input. You can already send a video to your friends via your phone or the Internet.
Here's how it works: you buy the soft drink, record a message, get a vending machine transaction number, then phone, text, Facebook, Tweet, YouTube your friend to let them know you have bought them a soft drink. By that time, isn't the message already redundant? Did you purposefully not tell them the information you want them to have? Is this some kind of sadistic scavenger hunt?
Not only that, but your friend has to drive to some vending machine (hopefully a map has been provided to the nearest one) to receive the message. Maybe the soft drink and message are cheap, but gasoline prices continue to soar. And in this age of instant gratification, I don't see many people waiting to pick up their free soft drink and message till the next time they go shopping.
I can't help thinking about the kind of messages that will be recorded on these new vending machines.
1) the breakup call
2) the "do-you-want to go out" call
3) the "we're pregnant" call
4) the "you're fired" call
5) the booty call
6) the "do-you-want to get married" call
I mean, the possibilities are endless. And that's before people start paying for the privilege of mooning the next vending machine customer. Of course, that will probably entail video footage being shot with a cell phone or camcorder, then getting the whole thing uploaded to YouTube.
Do we really want to risk setting this technology free in the hands of the same generation that brought us "sexting?"
Can you imagine the Hollywood stars that will be brought low buying soft drinks while inebriated? Or in some stage of undress?
I'm waiting to see how long this latest release remains "A Good Idea."
For those of you who can't wait to see how this works: