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The Rise of the 'Social Machines'
By: Christine Geraci
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Somewhere out there, a paintball gun is just waiting for you to pull its trigger and shoot. But don't let its undisclosed location stop you. That's why we have Twitter.
Yes, it does exist: A paintball gun that fires every time you tweet with the hashtag #ISLPaint. It's the latest fun innovation from iStrategyLabs, a digital marketing agency that, I humbly believe, is on to something REALLY big. 
iStrategyLabs creates what they call Social Machines, or various contraptions activated by online social activity. Examples: A fridge at SXSW that popped open with every 10 check-ins on Foursquare, and a cake that would recite your tweet if it contained the right hashtag.
It's one thing to contribute to an online conversation. But you don't always see a tangible result. This type of technology could be applied in a lot of different fun and interesting ways that benefit both customers and brands.
For instance, how cool would it be if perhaps for the holidays, the Christmas tree in New York City's Rockefeller Center was rigged to a social machine, where every donation made to a worthy charity lit up a light on the tree? How awesome would it be to watch how quickly the entire tree was lit as the result of donating to good causes?
Or, how about an animatronic version of the famous product spokesman of your choice that gives you a "thank you" every time you buy said product and let your friends know about it on Twitter?
Man, I could have loads of fun with this one. What about you? How would you utilize this technology if you had the time and the budget?

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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