It’s the best candy store you can imagine, if you have a sweet tooth for big ideas, new apps, the subversive nature of technology, and the human and social implications of the Digiscene Era. It’s SXSW in Austin, Texas.
I’ll be doing my best to consume as much of the intellectual energy here as I can, and capture it in random snags. Here’s some of the software that’s helping me.
Apps I can’t do without at : Blackbird Pie plugin for WordPress: make tweets pretty when you blog ‘em. http://t.co/k6hLlgxM
Boxcar! Essential. Pings my phone when any number of triggered events I set up happen involving any of my social media. I asked it to give me a nudge if I get a new follower on Twitter, or a message on Facebook, which I can configure to be as attention grabbing or quiet and retiring as I like.
Now, ADD the power of IFTTT (If This then That) to Boxcar and you can create your own information robot which scans the horizon and tugs at your sleeve when something important happens. IFTTT allows you to put together recipes, bit like Yahoo Pipes for Social Media but simpler. IF someone posts a mention of the word “Greenpeace” on Reddit, that turns up in my MetaReddit RSS feed. IFTTT monitors that feed, and whenever a new item appears, sends a notice to me via BoxCar. It can also monitor for mentions of the “Zombie Apocalypse” and I also use it to archive my tweets to Evernote (searchable!!!), ping me when anyone comments here on my blog, and email me Gizmodo’s iPad app of the week.
Hashable lets me keep track of who I meet by simply entering their twitter handle on my phone. Once in, I have a geotagged reference of where we met, we can exchange vCards, and tweet the meet to the rest of our networks. Supergreat.
And I’m trialing a whole heap of new stuff which looks good including three apps that do a possibly creepy, but cool thing of alerting you to the common interests of people in your geographic vicinity, or who have checked in to the same venue with Foursquare. Who’s in Starbucks now? Sonar will tell me, AND will tell me how I’m connected to the people there by analyzing my Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter networks. Highlight will do the same thing, but only if someone else has the Highlight app. Glancee is a variation on that theme, but is prettier and a bit spooky in how deep it mines your social graph to find common interests. It reports, for instance, that I might want to have a chat with X here in the conference centre because he likes Vonnegut and I like Pynchon, we both use HootSuite, and we’ve both listened to songs by Regina Spektor recently. Well, it’ll certainly break the ice.
I got better results from Sonar than Highlight on the way over simply because it’s tied to FourSquare and doesn’t require building a critical mass of audience that have a new app. Highlight told me it would let me know when anyone interesting came by, but stayed quiet in my pocket while Sonar and Glancee let me know that other people in the airport lounge also followed Mashable, liked the New Yorker magazine, lived in Amsterdam, and had been to my local Bagel & Beans.
Localmind also looks good: allows you to ask questions about local conditions from local experts or people present in a place when you ask. I used it to query the condition of the badge line at the convention centre last night, but it’s more geared toward “Where’s the best sandwich in this neighborhood” kind of persistent information. Nice interface, great mapping of your vicinity and the conversations that are going on about it.
One or more of these is going to go BOOM the same way Twitter did in 2006 — but the SXSW crowd is uniquely suited to this kind of vicinity software. It’s a hive mind of early adopters who share a lot of interests.
So much to see and say. I’m experimenting with Storify’s AUTOMAGIC blogging of SXSW, which will be capturing stuff I put out via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc and doing that Storify thing of making it all Timeliney and pretty. First installment is here, we’ll see how it works.