We recently noted how the latest useless trend was to add "social networking" to everything, highlighting some company's efforts to make social-networking taxis. This latest service one ups that: license plate-based "social networking" for drivers. Basically, you can register your license plate with this service, and then users can send you text messages by sending an SMS in that begins with your plate number. It's an idea that's been tried before, as well as adapted for use by the Finnish police, but this is the first time it's been called social networking! Whatever you call it, it really doesn't sound like such a great idea. Now, instead of just shooting you the middle finger, you can give other drivers the opportunity to deliver personalized text insults to you. Then, when you're on a PC (hopefully not while you're driving), you can view other drivers' profiles and try to hook up with them to, uh, fix their flat or something. The head of the company says it's "both simple and safe because you control the privacy" -- simple, perhaps, but how safe is a service that encourages people to type text messages on their phone while they drive? We've pointed out problems with laws that ban phone use while driving before, mainly that they distract from the real problem: unsafe driving. However, it's pretty safe to say that in nearly every instance, texting while driving wouldn't qualify as safe driving. So not only is this a pointless application of so-called social networking, it's a pretty stupid one as well.
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