Poken Networking USB Key, the Social Online Business Card

Poken... if you haven't heard of it yet, you certainly will be in the coming months. From its launch in Lausanne, Switzerland, Poken use has spread virally into Europe, Australia and now Japan.

As a networking tool, the user-friendly little "social business card" is a great leap forward and an ideal way to add social media profile info such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace home pages to the function currently served by traditional cardboard business cards.

Here's a video interview with Alex from Akihabara News and Poken founder Stephane Doutriaux, who were both in Tokyo last February 6 for the third annual Tokyo CGM (Consumer Generated Media) Night, at which Poken Japan was officially launched:

Attendees at Tokyo CGM received free Pokens - sort of like handing out free online business cards you program yourself - and had a jolly good time "hi-fouring" each other - as seen in the video, when info is exchanged the Pokens' four-fingered palms glow green.

How does Poken work? When you plug your battery-powered Poken into your PC or laptop's USB port later on, the SNS profiles of the people you've met are uploaded to the Poken web database giving you easy access to their social media pages - and vice versa.

You can choose which of your social network profiles you're into sharing with people when you meet them in the real world, and the info can be updated any time you like. It's also a great new way to find new business sales leads since you've already broken the ice and have the social networking bug in common.

As the Poken Japan website - in English, by the way - sums up, "Poken is your social business card. Great tool for connecting with new friends across online social networks. Poken bridges the gap between real world networking and online communication."


Still confused? Here's an extensive FAQ page that answers all your Poken-related wonderings in detail.

Grab onto this coming new trend by either buying your Poken (or Pokens - they're cheaper if bought in quantity) online at Amazon Japan, at selected retail outlets and even at some of the dedicated loyalty marketing websites such as PokenPlace who give discounts off the $25 per Poken price.

A wide variety of cute/cool styles are available and as there are no international voltage standards to worry about they should work in North America - no software, just plug & play. So, do you Poken? (via Clement Nyirenda , JapanSoc and What Japan Thinks)