How Can NFC Help Social Networking?
The ever-growing buzz around NFC has been upstaged only by the bigger buzz around social networks. Indeed, social networking has been the story of this decade. NFC is a complementary technology that facilitates social networking in a secure way. Social networking is evolving beyond just interactions between individuals to include commercial nodes. A business can be enhanced or can even thrive solely through social networks.
The popularity of social networking as a de facto medium of communication among the thinking public is dampened only by privacy and security concerns. NFC helps to alleviate some of these concerns and helps bring people closer. The advent of mobile devices (and their embracing of NFC technology) means that social networking is no longer restricted to the PC.
The success of a social network is of course dependent on its reliability. The presence of trusted sources helps spread information to targeted audience. The user would rather rely on a friend or colleague’s experience and recommendation rather than a stranger’s. Tapping two NFC enabled devices can help transfer information in a secure manner. The validity of the source can be immediately verified due to proximity. This could be peer-to-peer or be in a multi node fashion. (We already notice conference halls using NFC tags for various exhibitors’ Facebook news feeds.) A secure peer-to-peer communication means that sensitive data like documents and pictures can be shared within the envelopes of privacy and security.
The business side of social networking includes referrals, business cards and resumes. In the not so distant past business meetings did not have the luxury of online support for follow-ups. The advent of LinkedIn and similar services has brought a sea of change in growing one’s business network. Many business acquaintances start today through online referrals and email exchanges prior to face-to-face meeting. In a changing landscape, NFC offers a way to offer the reliability and the flexibility of both worlds. NFC enables exchanging of contact information that could be a mix of old world in person meetings and exchange of electronic credentials. Electronic business cards or LinkedIn profiles can be shared with a simple bump of two NFC devices. The other use of NFC is of course in commerce. Social networking sites and mobile devices alike are showing increasing commercial applications. Businesses can distribute NFC credits and coupons in the form of tags or custom mobile devices. For small businesses, the NFC enabled device can itself be used for electronic money exchange –both for collection and payment.
Services such as those that cater to event planning and viral marketing find creative use for NFC to spread the message on social networks. Users can tap on to NFC tags on venue locations to update their location-based status and even redeem coupons where applicable. Elsewhere in a marriage of digital and real products, game makers embed NFC tags in plush toys linked to games. Tapping these tags help reveal new gaming levels or provide the user with Facebook or any other gaming platform credits delivered to the user’s account.
Also gaining ascendency in the popularity chart are NFC devices like Clickeys that are touted as a “electronic combination of (your) business card and an electronic carrier bag… Click. Connect. And Share”. The use of Clickeys in the real world leads to information collection in the long run which is the lifeline for social media platforms.
Twitter-like messaging platforms too find a place in the NFC world where tapping two NFC devices sends a short message from one device to another. The success of these social applications is dependent on how seamless the integration is with the online counterparts such as Twitter and Facebook.