Saturday, July 7, 2007

A couple weeks ago the mobile industry was all excited that Coca-Cola was actually going to try its hand at a mobile social networking community. So they created a Sprite-branded mobile community called The Yard. I think the name is supposed to refer to the fun place children get to go when they're not in class ... not the place prison inmates go to lift weights and shank rival gang members.

To gain access to the yard, you must text the word "yard" to 59666 (which spells "lymon") and they'll send you back a magical URL that you can access on yer phone. The site lets you upload pictures, and issue "shouts" to all of your friends. I didn't have any friends so I clicked the link to go find some.

You can search for new friends based on shared interests or location or "tag" ... and if you pick interests they give you a list of drop-down menu choices to cleanly cubby-hole yourself into a market researcher's matrix. For instance, one "interest" category is "How do you stay in touch with your friends" so you can find friends who share your desire to connect by phone, email, IM or smoke signal. I think that last one is to identify the stoners.

It's interesting to see a gigantic corporation dipping a toe in the water. The poor bastards gotta be terrified. Somewhere a marketing person is saying "how are we ever going to commercialize a medium where people just send things to each other directly, with no corporate supervision!? Think of the children!"

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