One person, two apps. As I was thinking about how to test out these apps as a way of meeting new people, I started going back and forth between Highlight and Glancee, looking to see who each app wanted to connect me with. Though both offer up potential connections based in part on who your common Facebook friends are, the lists of people each app was suggesting--both quite long now that I was at SXSW--were totally different. Except for one name. I noticed that both apps were promoting Mary Crosse as someone I should meet. So I sent her a message through Glancee and asked if she'd be willing to meet up and talk to me. She wrote back almost immediately and said yes.
Crosse, the executive producer of content at Click3x, said that her initial experience with the apps had been back home in New York City, when the publisher of iPad news magazine The Daily sent her a message late one evening introducing himself and asking if they lived next to each other, That made sense: It was late at night and the publisher had correctly deduced that she was at home and guessed that she was a y+x iphone case neighbor, She added that in her initial experiments with multiple people discovery apps, Highlight seemed like an easier way to discover which friends you have in common with another user, while with Glancee, it could be that the app was matching you up with someone more because of similar interests..
For Crosse, then, Highlight makes more sense because she's more interested in potential connections based on lots of mutual friends. "If it shows me someone with 22 friends in common," Crosse said, "it's probably someone I should have met already and I have a reason to really reach out to."And with that, Crosse opened up Highlight and fired off an introductory message to a person Highlight had suggested that had 22 friends in common with her. Highlight and Glancee list potential contacts a little differently. With the former, the list is chronological while the latter does it by proximity.
I decided to look for someone to talk to about the apps that I have at least five friends in common with, But because I'm at SXSW, there are countless people on hand using the apps that aren't that closely linked to my social graph, With Highlight, I had to scan through 20 names before finding someone meeting my criteria, On Glancee, it was much quicker: just six people, y+x iphone case I dashed off a note to the first person on each service, and within a minute, I got a response from Thor Muller, the former head of Get Satisfaction, and the co-author of the upcoming book, "Get Lucky."Muller said he'd been playing with Highlight for awhile and had decided that though the app has its uses, it's a bit passive in how it approaches presence, "It's taking the kind of active statement of presence from Foursquare," he said, "and replacing it with passive geopresence, It's so easy, you don't have to remember to check in."But that might be a good thing, Muller added, since that dynamic means the app focuses users' attention on people rather than on places, "and tries to create context around those people."Still, Muller added that he mainly saw Highlight as a way to connect with people he already knows but isn't already friends with on Facebook, And thanks to the serendipity of the app's discovery engine, he's been able to do just that, But serendipity isn't random..
Serendipity is "chance plus creativity," Muller said. "It requires not just bumping into something unexpected, but doing something with it. So Highlight has to create meaningful ways of taking action."And for that, Highlight's new feature, which allows users to "highlight," or favorite, someone, is just that. "It's a little bit of social currency," he said. "'Hey, someone thought I was interesting.'"SXSW showdown. Now that SXSW is underway, it's clear that the day of the people discovery app has come. But it's not clear that each one can survive.
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