Cheers to Ocean City legend Brett Martin, who made a big splash yesterday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York. Brett’s been working on an app called Sonar, which allows you to identify social media attributes of strangers in your proximity.
As Gawker quoted in its begrudgingly complimentary piece, Sonar will “tell you that the guy sitting across from you is Facebook friends with your college roommate, the dude by the jukebox is a VC that you follow on twitter, and the cute girl by the bar also likes the Arcade Fire and Hemingway.”
I remember being thoroughly befuddled when Brett originally tried to explain this concept to me. First, for it to work, it would require significant buy-in. But after watching the rocket ascendance of Twitter and FourSquare, people seem ready to jump on board. The technical/social media savvy among the young professional crowd is growing so fast that something like this could be adopted within weeks. And while it may seem awkward to deploy the knowledge of, say, a hot girl at the bar’s music tastes, it’s not all that different than cruising match.com.
To paraphrase Brian Orce, there’s nothing wrong with supplementing the way you interact socially. For people who think it’s lame to lean on an app to tell you what strangers to interact with, I’d counter that few of us interact with strangers very often as it is (Brett, ironically, is the person who probably needs this app the least out of people I know). I’m liable to strike up a conversation with the folks at the neighboring booth, but I might actually walk two booths over if I knew the people there shared my interests and passions.
Hopefully we’ll have Brett on the Living the Dream podcast soon, where we can discuss the coming hang out revolution.
Finally, the photographer was obviously giving Brett the Mark Zuckerberg treatment. That I can’t really get behind.