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The Future of Social Mobile Engagement

A few years back, four square’s Dennis Crowley made a remark at Tech Crunch Disrupt in NYC:

I remember it well, because my entrepreneurial mind doesn’t have an “off” switch and at the time I had been thinking about a concept similar to “radar” for your social network. One that would let you know when your friends are near, or when a potential new business contacts happens to have time for a cup of coffee at the same airport (based on their title, location, and personal settings).

My idea was called ‘Local Motion’ and was eventually buried in a mountain of other ideas and more immediate “to-do’s” as a lonely Power point on my hard drive.

Flash forward to an article I read today, “Ever note Wants To Be The Automatic Trusted Place You Store Your Life” and this question from Tech Crunch to the CEO of Ever note.

I believe Chad Hurley is exactly right and that our current state of “proactive sharing” will evolve into much more automated “ambient awareness” of our actions and experiences because “people are getting tired of being constantly proactive with information.”

Notwithstanding the privacy and safety concerns, which will take some time to align for mass audiences, once these challenges are met to the satisfaction of the greater masses it just makes sense for these things to be much more automated.

Well, sometimes brilliant ideas are a dime a dozen, and it’s those that execute that reap the rewards. This year, an app called Highlight got some attention at S X SW and it has features allowing you to connect with potential business contacts geographically close by who are in your social network.

I’m thinking this could be a potential LinkedIn acquisition candidate, should things continue to grow. Growth (according to Tech Crunch’s Alexia Tootsies) appears to be at approximately 9K users per day. It’s super interesting to think of the business implications when you are geographically close to high value relationships. How often is that happening right now, at this very moment, and neither party is aware?

Also notice the recent acquisition of Glance by Facebook, even though Glance appeared to only have 3 K new users per day at the time of acquisition. Subsequently, Facebook removed the app from the marketplace…a very interesting play and no doubt a step in retrenching the app technology and interface for a relaunch of the technology.

Overall, the takeaway here is to note that ambient awareness is a trend that is building momentum. Slowed by privacy and clarity surrounding discovery settings, I am certain it will continue to build.

To drive this all the way home to the opportunity for digital marketers…what about the nature of these geographically relevant opportunities? Why not suggest a place to meet for coffee or lunch for the two businessmen who just discovered they are in San Fran at the same time?

What about the guy who just connected with a new girl via an ambient awareness app (like Badu)? Suggesting a movie theater, particular movie, event or romantic place to meet for their first connection in person is timely, valuable, and immediately actionable.

What other challenges or opportunities do you see for startups developing the tech and marketers that could leverage the opportunity? What other applications do you see that are including ambient awareness?

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