This is a great example of a service born out of a real insight. Although it hasn’t been commercialised yet, there is no doubt in my mind that it would (will) be a success.
“Since a girl’s dormitory mates will glean evidence of her popularity from the calls she
receives on the phone, we can suspect that some girls will arrange for calls to be made.”
– Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self In Everyday Life
This insight, which is relevant in multiple situations outside of the girl’s dorm, led to the creation of the Popularity Dialer. (Just think of how wonderful it can be to escape for a little while from a really tedious market research presentation with 7 billion Powerpoint slides for example.)
Popularity Dialer is easy to use. Via a web interface, you can choose to have your phone called at a particular time (or several times). At the time of your choice, your phone will be dialed and you will hear a prerecorded message that’s one half of a conversation. Thus, you will be prompted to have a fake conversation and will easily fool those around you.
Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait to appear popular (and get out of research presentations) since the service is currently only available to US numbers.