Being an early adopter, I love testing out new things, new concepts, and playing with the new toys. One of the things I’ve had a change to observe is the rise and/or fall of some pretty interesting concepts over the last 7 years. Playing with several of those tools and networks, I can remember about 4-5 times where my jaw dropped. Using Facebook to network with other college students I had met at a housing conference, Twitter hashtags to communicate while at a conference, and checking in on Foursquare at a conference and seeing about 20 people already at the hotel are some of those WOW moments. In those moments, I knew that I was witnessing something revolutionary.
I’m pretty sure I’m about to have another one of those experiences.
Over the last couple months, a couple of apps have come out that have really started “Going all Apple” and removing a lot of the signup/permissions boundaries and embracing the idea of “discovery”. One such app, Yobongo, which made it’s debut at SXSW, focuses on putting people into “rooms” of 6-8 people and letting them just talk. You have little to no control of who you’re placed into a room with. However, the app’s algorithm recognizes your behaviors and with pair/repair you accordingly when the group is re-organized.
This is a great concept because it brings social networking back to discovery. Who am I around? Do we have shared interests? Yobongo makes it a bit easier to break the ice and make those great connections with people around you.
Color is another app that’s doing a great job of this, but in a slightly different way. Watch the Color Demo from Color Labs, Inc. by clicking here. Bill Nguyen, one of the minds behind Lulu, co-founded this app. And when you first look at the app, you can tell there are some major influences from his short time working with Steve at Apple. The app, like Yobongo, doesn’t ask, it just allows you to interact with others using the app around you. However, this app is focused around sharing your story through pictures. So, if you checked out my feed, you would see a pic I took of my view while writing this, complete with laptop and sweet tea. The example Nguyen gave in his interview with TWiST was that of a co-worker who didn’t call into work sick, but instead took a series of pictures illustrating the illness of their child, literally telling the story of why they would not be coming to work that day. Having studies film in college, I’m very excited in what more creative people that I can come up with using the app.
While there are many people who will chime in about privacy concerns, security, and other boundaries, I’m truly excited to see what comes of these networks in future. One of the things we used to talk about at the Apple Store was the concept of removing “clicks”. For each step in a process, we suggested losing about half the people. With the simplicity of apps such as Yobongo and Color, there’s no telling how far and how easily these networks can start to spread.