Attendees at last week’s South by Southwest Interactive conference buzzed about a few startups that are taking what we know about social and improving on it.
At last year’s conference, Pinterest was on the upward swing in the buzz department. Now, it’s the fourth most visited social network, according to Hitwise
So what will take the Web by storm this year?
Judging by the buzz at this year’s SXSWi (as measured by Mashable
) these sites are poised to make a splash:
Highlight — the “who’s near me” app
What it is: The most bandied about startup at this year’s SXSWi was Highlight, an app that syncs with your Facebook account, enabling you to connect with those around you who have similar tastes. The more you “like” on Facebook, the more matches it is likely to find.
Anecdotally, I was riding the El in Chicago today when on my phone the Highlight app alerted me that a guy named Dave is also a fan of Words With Friends and Chicago’s Baconfest. Later in the day, it told me that a guy named Jay who works in my building also watches Conan O’Brien.
If you’d like, you can “highlight” these people and perhaps meet for coffee (and, with any luck, not be violently attacked by them).
Why it’s important:From a networking standpoint, you can see why this was all the rage at SXSWi. In event situations and tech conferences, breaking the ice with fellow attendees (and potential business partners) is made easier thanks to Highlight.
Although It may take a while before it becomes a popular icebreaker on public transit.
is another like-minded app that connects you with people nearby and enables you to chat with them. It was also quite popular during SXSWi.
is a different take on the location aspect, connecting you with friends in your vicinity based on your check-ins over several platforms (Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, etc.)
Task Rabbit — the “odd job” app
What it is: Quite simply, Task Rabbit offers micro-outsourcing. Think of the most mundane task or errand you have. Now think of how nice it would be if a complete stranger would do it for you. That’s where Task Rabbit comes in. It connects people who don’t want to do their mundane tasks with people willing to do them—for a fee.
Why it’s important: Task Rabbit is another example of how peer-to-peer is shifting social media. It takes what Airbnb.com offers a step further. While Airbnb helps you connect with a place to stay, Task Rabbit connects you with a person to help you get your work done. If it catches on, this could create a niche marketplace for people willing to do almost anything.
Similar to Task Rabbit is Zaarly
. Log on to Zaarly, tell the community what you want and how much you’re willing to pay for it. Someone from the community will then make it happen—or not (presumably if you’re a cheapskate).
Grandstand — the crowd harnesser
What it is: For brands, Grandstand is one of the more intriguing new platforms. According to its website, “Grandstand is used by brands, agencies, venues, retailers and event producers to enhance the in-person experience that social savvy consumers have at stores, stadiums, museums and special events of all kinds.”
To sum up, it lets you offer deals to large groups of people in real time. If you get enough check-ins, tweets, retweets or other actions, it can unlock a group prize or special offer. Grandstand connects those who have something to offer to those who are willing to check in to get it.
Why it’s important: It’s tough to inspire large crowds of people to take action, but this is the type of service that could potentially make it happen. The ability to harness group mind is a potentially powerful thing for brands. And when you make it immediate, the impact can be even greater. Check out the app on FourSquare here
Pixable — the “app-regator”
What it is: Founded in 2009, Pixable aggregates photos from your social networks and sorts them into feeds (one feed, for example, might be “Best Photos of the Day”). If visiting Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr separately to see all of your friends’ photos is annoying, then Pixable will make your day.
Why it’s important: Pixable is the latest in a trend of apps that aggregate different aspects of social media sites. The Highlight genre of apps aggregate what people are doing and where they’re doing it over several platforms. Pixable just takes the photo aspect of these different sites and brings them into one constantly refreshing space.