Would you Tweet your credit card purchases?
Oh, he's not going to sell you anything. He just wants to keep track of where you shop, what you buy and how much you pay for it -- and he wants to share that with all your friends.
Is this cool or just kooky? This New York Times article describes the initiative, which is in beta mode (meaning that it's still being tested on a trial audience of the founder's acquaintances).
It's called Blippy, and the article describes it as being like Twitter for all your transactions. Say you buy The Lost Symbol on sale at Barnes & Noble. As soon as your card is swiped by the cashier, everyone in your network will instantly know about your purchase. Like other social-networking sites, users could elect to make their purchases public or private and would be able to obscure certain transactions.
Like blogging and Twitter, there are undoubtedly some people who think this constitutes a ridiculous degree of oversharing. There will probably be others who love the idea, although they're probably also the people who are already sending out a tweet every time they order a half-caf latte.
Marketers will most likely love the idea, since it's essentially a real-time ticker of peoples' everyday purchases. We here at Walletpop aren't so sure it adds that much to the already-burgeoning social networking category, though.
Blippy's founder, Philip Kaplan, tells the Times the tool could connect people, saying that if one of his friends sees a message pop up that he just bought something at Starbucks, they could go and meet him there. Unfortunately, the credit card info transmitted might not include the address of which Starbucks he's drinking at. And in a major city where the chain is practically on every street corner, there'd be no way to tell where he was.
Likewise, Kaplan gives another example of seeing that someone in his network bought a TV, so he could use that person as a resource for his own purchases. Again, reasonable in theory, but it's more likely that the people already hooked on social networking sites would use one of those existing channels to send a message asking for advice about a potential purchase.
The Times article doesn't touch on the most fundamental issue with typing your credit card info into a computer: security. Given that people are told time and time again to be cautious when dealing with online vendors -- and given that even big, reputable companies have been hacked and robbed of data -- it's likely that even technophiles might pause at the prospect of exposing their credit card data just so their friends can learn where they ate lunch.
Readers, what do you think? Would you "blip?" Why or why not? Tell us in the comments section.