Social Networking Bubbling to the Top, Says Futurologist

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Though being "in a bubble" has long implied that one is cut off from the world -- and has become a bit of a joke besides, thanks to an awful 1976 TV movie starring John Travolta and an hilarious "Seinfeld" episode -- a BT futurologist predicts that "digital bubble" devices could become a key part of the next stage of social networking.


In an interview with silicon.com, futurologist Ian Pearson (whose job title we covet) says that folks will wear devices to "radiate their Web presence" and connect with people who share their interests. While we aren't sure we'd be interested in routinely opening ourselves up to interaction with passersby -- even those who ostensibly share our interests -- it seems like a natural for "closed loop" events like conferences.


The top challenge with such a device, says Pearson, will be ensuring wearers can avoid unwanted attention. (Gee, it's almost as if he could read our mind. Maybe that's how he got his job.) This could be a pretty big hurdle, considering the privacy concerns associated with such relatively innocuous devices as cell phones.


Pearson also predicts a more prominent presence for virtual content in the real world, creating what he calls an "augmented reality." The example cited in silicon.com is a "dual architecture" for buildings that could broadcast information such as the names of businesses located within.


Hmmm, sounds like old-fashioned signage to us. But we're not a futurist.