Attending SXSW this year? The SXSWi (interactive) panels bring together some of the greatest forward thinking tech-heads from around the world, with social media serving as the keynote for many of their ideas. With SXSW and our #shift event in mind, and being a bit of an app-junkie, I saw a new locational service that I had to write about: Sonar.
A majorly untapped social resource, in my opinion, is data that connects you with people that you don’t know, but you should. While there are services like this, for example Mingle!, they have yet to become mainstream. Many relevant connections exist in those 2nd and 3rd level networks, but meeting these people can be challenging, especially over the web. Sonar ties together LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare data to create a unique social and geo-locational platform, connecting you to your extended network
Using a combination of, “distance, time, and social relevance [Sonar], determines the 15 to 25 most relevant people in the general vicinity… then plots them on a map” (mashable.com). While geo-locational services are a bit of a toss-up for most social users, this poses a unique advantage, especially when congregating at forums or events like SXSW.
There are many positives associated with allowing apps and social networks to use your location, for instance area specific promotions, but there are certainly drawbacks when it comes to security measures. Leaving that debate aside, the possibility of attending a networking event and being able to see who is relevant to you, how you’re connected, where they work, and even what you have in common, makes professional and personal networking arguably simple. Which is a reason, for me at least, to allow my devices access to my location.
Perhaps Sonar’s most valuable attribute lies in its accessibility across platforms. Other individuals don’t have to be using Sonar for you to connect with them, “It’s a measurement of all the social media activity around you.” Still the app requires that users “check-in” in one form or another, on one of the integrated social networks to determine location. Fortunately, networking events are a typical place for individuals to allow geo-locational identification, and these are the situations in which Sonar has the most potential value.
If you’ve been iffy about geo-location in the past, perhaps Sonar could nudge you to give it a try again. Besides, you don’t have to reveal your location all the time, only when you want to. If you’re at SXSW or SXSWi this weekend, I encourage you to try the Sonar app out; it’s an ideal environment to experiment with the service. PGi’s #shiftSXSW event focuses on the future of work and collaboration, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate tool to help keep you connected. So go ahead, announce your location, with an app like this you never know who you might meet.