“You google, you text, you chat… do you Poken?” According to Poken CEO and founder Stephane Doutriaux, this is the one networking question you should be asking yourself right now. That’s right, tech fans — Stephane predicts that business cards will soon be out and Poken will be in, acting as the missing “bridge between online and offline” that connects your real life interactions and online networks.

“But wait,” you say, “what the heck is a Poken anyway?” A Poken is a little gizmo that lives around your neck or in your pocket, and when introduced to another Poken (by exchanging a “high four”) it electronically records both the time of the encounter and the other person’s contact information. When you plug your Poken into a USB port you have access to the online profiles of all your new Poken-toting friends. Basically, with one high-four you get a picture, contact info and social networking handles, as well as a timeline of when and where you met each person.

There are two versions currently for sale in the United States, the character-shaped Poken Spark (retail $20 for one, $30 for two) and the more “professional” Poken Pulse (retail $35) which doubles as a flash drive. Personally, I don’t think these are ever going to totally replace business cards (or an iPhone bump), but there is a potential market for them at conferences or events where you have a fixed group of people that will be interacting together for a set amount of time (e.g. they’d be fabulous wedding favors). Some of the designs are pretty darn adorable, but cute as they are, they’re pretty much worthless unless you are surrounded by other Poken-users. After all, you can’t Poken alone.

Anyway, enough talking! Want to Poken and decide for yourself? If so, you may be in luck: this month, Popdose is giving away a pair of Poken (one Ninja, one Rockstar) to one lucky winner! Send an e-mail with subject line “Poken” to enter. Entries must be received by May 31st, 2010; winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

And if you really have to have one right now, why not high-four with some political muscle?

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About the Author

Sarah Gupta, MD

Sarah Gupta is a recent medical school graduate and the inventor of the Buff Cuff.

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