Our online associations basically represent relationships that exist in real life, relationships that we document by adding people to particular social networks. In today’s world, the act of researching someone’s online presence before (or after) a meeting, date, or social interaction might be a requirement. LinkedIn can give you an idea of a person’s professional résumé, a Twitter profile might reveal his or her publicized interests or influence, and if a Facebook profile exists, well, you can learn possibly far too much about an individual depending on what he or she shares and how open the profile is to an outsider. Putting account settings and user preferences aside, apps that make connections to our physical social networks and marry those networks with our location via a mobile device are very interesting. These apps can show users how their social networks connect with strangers they pass on the street, but they can also teach users the value of real-life networks that are stored, structured, and validated online. Let’s look at three apps and how their features redefine our online social networks, showing the power that mobile, social, and location-based apps can have on our everyday life.
Foursquare + Facebook + Twitter = invisible connections around you. Next time you check in on Foursquare to one of the busier spots in your area, an app like Sonar would display a screen indicating how you are linked to people in your immediate location. Sonar can tell you that you share three Twitter interests or two Facebook friends and enable you to see those specific connections and those users’ photos. You can then introduce yourself in person, if you want. Don’t fret about security, either––you opt in, so all Sonar users have chosen to associate their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts in order to see their relationships.
As Path advertises, Path is “the smart journal that helps you share life with ones you love.” It’s Facebook boiled down your real friends and not the extended network of acquaintances and familiar faces that Facebook has become just to see the friend-count edge higher. The app has a fresh way of displaying important content with a beautiful user interface. Path has the same sharing and “journal” status-type features that are found on the other social networks, but the platform enables smaller circles to interact with pertinent content more easily.
As its tagline reads, “Know. Now.” Localmind is seeking to build “a real-time, location-based Q&A platform that sits on top of existing check-in services.” Localmind uses location-based check-in services likes Foursquare to allow users to send a question about a physical location and receive answers from users who are currently checked in to that location. It lets users contact someone outside their network or circles to determine what is happening at a particular check-in spot.
All three apps provide very different services, but all are based on mobile technology and how it can augment our interaction with our traditional, terrestrial social networks and our location on terra firma.
Bottom line: Use these apps, learn what they do, and be aware that these features will be the next thing to come baked in to our mobile devices. Jumping on the edge of the wave can increase the position of your company or application earlier.
Author: John Carew