OCR for the Social Networker

By Joe Budelli posted 10-20-2010 14:31


Last year alone, Twitter grew 577 percent, Facebook increased by 188.6 percent and LinkedIn expanded 89 percent. Today, approximately 160 million are “tweeting,” there are more than 500 million active users on Facebook and LinkedIn has connected over 80 million members in over 200 countries.

This enormous growth of social media is undoubtedly paralleled within businesses and evolving the architecture of business transactions. A recent study, “The State of Small Business Report,” shows that social media usage by small business owners increased from 12% to 24% in just the last year, and almost 1 out of 5 actively uses social media as part of their marketing strategy.

With more businesses taking an active role and engaging in outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, there has also been a boost in the development of new technologies and applications that are available for users. Sure, you may be thinking, “How could this be? While there has been a growth in business transactions across the networks, there are still a number of people on social networking sites that are strictly there for personal use.” And to that, I do not argue. However, there are indeed business applications that make it easier for users to find, communicate, and locate colleagues and business partners.

I am personally interested in the apps that integrate OCR into social media functions. Whether it is a business card reader that connects to LinkedIn or an OCR solution that lets you take a picture of a street sign and share your location on FourSquare, I am a fan of it all; It is great to see the possibilities that have been created by integrating OCR into social computing.

Let’s take, for example, a situation I ran into last week at a conference. When I collected a stack of business cards from various colleagues, I was able to snap images with my iPhone, download the contents, and save the contacts to my address book using a business card reader. To take it a step further, I was then able to link the information found on the business cards across popular networks. That is to say, while the business card only shows pertinent contact information, I was able to learn a lot more about the individuals I had met and their companies by conducting a quick search across Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Additionally, I was able to link the business card images to Google Maps so I could see exactly where the businesses were located.

I think that OCR has only begun to scratch the surface of possibilities within social mediums. What do you think is the next step to sharing content though OCR and social networking?

#socialmedia #twitter #youtube #OCR #facebook #linkedin #ScanningandCapture #mobilecapture