e-Geaux: Social Networking Without The Social Or The Networking

Jul 18, 2011

Have you ever wanted to put a Facebook friend on autopilot?

Make them think you care without the time commitment of leaving a meaningful birthday message or the trouble of reading their ranting comments. A "like" here, a comment there — just enough to make it believable?

Well, Pepys Inc. has what you've been looking for. E-Breaux is part of the company's suite of Web solutions called e-Geaux (beta).

That's pronounced "ego" and as you may have guessed, it's too good to be true. The e-Geaux app is the centerpiece of a play with performances this week in Washington, D.C. The show's producers hope to get audiences thinking about our increasingly personal relationship with social media, about privacy, and about the often-vacuous nature of online interactions.

Just as Web 2.0 made the Internet interactive, this production aims to make theatre a digital interactive experience, starting from the moment you enter the theater. Ushers who look like they could work at an Apple store encourage audience members to use their smartphones to opt-in to the e-Geaux (beta) app.

Now, this app isn't real. It's all part of the show. But by opting in audience members are handing over their Facebook data to the performers. Their photos, weeks worth of status updates, their political views, their relationship status.

In this theater piece they're using the language, visuals and technology you'd expect at a showy product demo from a social media startup company.

Throughout the demo, audience members' Facebook data appears on the screen. Photos and status updates are taken out of context. Laughs ensue.

And when it's all over, you're left to wonder if e-Geaux was real; would you choose to opt in?

Full disclosure here, I was invited to this show via Facebook — three times, from three Facebook friends involved in the production.

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