Sonar Check-Ins Bring Digital Connections to Real Life
Check-in capabilities, the Foursquare-like component briefly the focal point for social networks, have largely fallen short of expectations. Even Facebook, already in possession of the…
Check-in capabilities, the Foursquare-like component briefly the focal point for social networks, have largely fallen short of expectations. Even Facebook, already in possession of the largest social network online, was unable to find success in Places, their now-defunct check-in service. In May, a study commissioned by digital agency Beyond found that just 17-percent of the mobile population makes use of the opportunity to broadcast user location to the masses.
That same month, iPhone app builders Brett Martin and Brent Hargrave launched Sonar at TechCrunch Disrupt NY, an annual startup competition, where it took the runner-up award. The brand’s premise is simple but highly valuable: using already-available public data, the service establishes connections between users who have checked in to the same location, pulling from Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook. Open the app, and you’ll learn who in your immediate vicinity has mutual interests, Twitter followers, and Facebook friends. If you so choose, make contact with those individuals by way of Twitter.
Initially, it would seem, Beyond’s study and Sonar’s approach are at odds with one another, except for one key piece of data: 54-percent of check-in app users are motivated to share when discounts are involved, while 99-percent of those who do not use check-in apps do not see Foursquare badges and status rewards as incentive to share locations. “The results of this study highlights the huge changes that will take place as social location apps move from niche to mass consumer,” Beyond CEO David Hargreaves said to Mashable. “Brands that can develop ‘Glocal’ social media strategies, tap into the motivations of the mass consumer and leverage the reach of the Facebook and Groupon platforms will be the real leaders in this sector.”
Last week, in a widely-celebrated move that addresses Beyond’s data, Sonar announced that LinkedIn has been integrated into the app’s interface. Now, the incentive to check-in has increased exponentially - while Sonar had already somewhat removed the guise between potential social acquaintances, it now gives its users the opportunity to meet potential employers and employees, simply based on shared interests, followers, and friends. Whereas a business may benefit financially from creating incentive for promotion through Foursquare check-ins, an individual now has the opportunity to benefit financially from making a connection with a client they otherwise may have never met.
The announcement has the tech community particularly abuzz due to the proliferation of conferences and events within the industry, where big names and featured speakers are often the only recognizable - but not the only valuable - faces in the crowd. With Sonar, attendees will able to connect with the otherwise invisible voices of their extended social media circles, sparking, if all goes as planned, jointly beneficial introductions. With valuable investors, big API plans, and the intention to monetize through promoted check-ins for high paying individuals, the app seems poised to further blur the lines between real and digital interaction.