An addicted insider’s account of our real lives in the era of the realtime, social web.

Confession #38: I’m Not Ready to Face the Face

We must take the takes
And know the known
Try to place the place
Where we can face the face.
We got to face the face.

– Pete Townshend

Before I got married, I never had much luck picking up the ladies in a club or a bar. But at least in the past, I had a theoretical shot at succeeding.

I’m pretty sure today’s technologies remove any possibility of success.

Maybe I could handle the “Can I buy you a drink?” line, and maybe I could fake my way through a dance or yell some small talk above the din of the bass beat, and maybe I could even offer up a believable enough, “Hey, why don’t you and I go somewhere where we can talk?”

And maybe she’d put on her jacket, tell her friends she was taking off and we’d both head towards the door. But then she’d point her iPhone at my face and say, “Wait, did you once write a blog post about masturbating to Tiger Wood’s mistresses?”

And that would be it.

A mobile software firm called The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) just debuted a new app called Recognizr. The idea is to provide users with augemented identity tools. You point your camera phone at someone’s face. That image is compared to a database of faces. And when a match is found, you get a bunch of publicly available data associated with that face.

Man, I remember when augmented identity just meant shoving an English cucumber down the front of my Wranglers.

“It’s taking social networking to the next level,” says Dan Gärdenfors, head of user experience research at TAT. “We thought the idea of bridging the way people used to meet, in the real world, and the new Internet-based ways of congregating would be really interesting.”

Suggested tagline: Because real life, first-time meetings aren’t horrific enough.

And there are cameras everywhere now. Maybe you get lucky and the person you picked up has a drained phone battery. It’s all going fine until the ATM camera or one of those traffic cams calls out to her, “Hey, I don’t think you really want to go out with this dude.”

One of the nice things about the web is that you can, at least to a certain extent, hide behind your keyboard. You can let your creativity flow and occasionally say things you might not say in person. Are we really ready to bring a lifetime of digital content with us everywhere we go?

And ultimately, people will be able to add data about you once they see you in person. Then the identity augmentations to your real face will bleed back over into your virtual life.

“Just met the Tweetage Wasteland guy and he’s about thirty pounds heavier than the his logo suggests.”

You’ve Got to Face This Face

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My name is Dave Pell, internet superhero. This blog provides an addicted insider's account of what's happening to us in the era of the realtime, social web. You can read more about the site, grab the rss feed, follow me on twitter, join the Facebook page, or get email updates.