“Crazy, you know that person?? That’s amazing! Wow. Small world, huh?”
I say and hear that phrase all the time. Especially in a place like New York, it sometimes seems like I can’t meet more than a few people without one of them having a link to something in my past. It might be a place I lived, a school I went to, a teacher I had, or a friend I’ve lost touch with, but it happens all the time. While it feels like a phenomenon each time it happens, Sonar thinks it really isn’t that crazy. The whole world is linked together by lots of different variables, and Sonar is there to capture the connections.
This New York City startup, founded by Brett Martin, is showing people how they’re connected to the outside world. Sonar links users’ Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter accounts to their app’s system, and it shows people how they’re linked to others near where they are. By using factors like schools, jobs and friends, people can find the connections between themselves and others in the rooms they’re in. Users can see what other people in the room went to the same school as them or have mutual friends, among many other things. This kind of technology works at its best in public places like parks, restaurants and bars. Sonar works even if the other people in the room don’t have it, which is a key trait. It still works based on previous social data that’s been entered by people to those other databases. The one drawback is that it’s required to have a Foursquare account to use Sonar, but there’s an easy link to sign up for one right from the app.
The way that we’re all connected is fascinating. In a big city like New York, these links between people happen all the time. With this app, it’s never been easier to see how we all fit in with each other. While it still may be a little awkward to go up to a girl at a bar and say “Hey, don’t you know Mike? I just researched that you know Mike!”, Sonar is turning everywhere we go into a gigantic network. Huh. Small world.