This morning’s session at the Demo 2012 conference focused on social networks, with a number of new networks and tools for managing them. Many look interesting, though I wonder how many social networks people need. Still, the concept of specialized social networks that just exist for particular tasks—job seeking, following sports teams, setting up play dates for children—sounds like it might be quite useful. A lot of these are variations on social networks designed for mobile networks.

Tellagence has a visual system for following a topic across a social network. The demo showed the company’s Web service connecting with Twitter to reveal a visual of the topics you are interested in, who else is interested in the topic, and the relationships among people in the social network. The idea is to be able to predict who will pass on a message, when, and where, so marketers can better disseminate their message.

Barrel of Jobs is a new recruiting website that pays people who help the company find the right candidate. It lets a company that has an opening post it onto the site, and then lets the individual post be shared via email or social networks. People who get these messages then can forward or repost them, and this can happen repeatedly. When someone gets the job, the employer pays the company, which in turns pays a commission to everyone in the chain. The idea seems to be bringing gaming concepts to recruiting, which sounds fun. The concept is “helping friends, earning money, and putting America back to work,” which is a great tag line.

Givingtrax has a cloud-hosted site for tracking business giving to charity. This creates a microsite for each business that allows it to receive requests from local charities. It also lets the business track the gifts it has given as a business, both in kind and cash; gifts given by employees, including things like corporate match programs; and time spent by employees at charities. Individual employees get their own view of charitable giving, one that is portable if they change jobs. It looks like a good solution for smaller businesses, particularly things like franchisees where the data can be collected among multiple outlets.

DreamWare showed an application called iSocialite, an iPhone app designed to help you and your friends meet for short coffee breaks and happy hours. You can create the event, select venues, and invite either individual friends or entire social networks. It was pitched as a networking app, though it looks like a dating app.

Apparent is an iPhone app for planning activities for your children. It creates a small social network for parents, organized around setting up play dates and inviting kids’ friends. It also allows for a photo diary of the events. It looks fun, though a little narrow. I’m just not sure how many parents want to manage another social network.

Hapoose has an interesting Android app designed for helping people discover even more apps. It lets you share your favorite apps with your friends over your existing social networks and see your friends’ recommendations. It also sorts through the Google Play store to give you recommendations based on the apps you already run. This is in beta for Android now. It looks fine, but I’m not sure how many people need a personalized tool for finding more apps.

RecBob is aimed at recreational sports teams, particularly team captains. It lets you manage the group and send out messages to everyone on the team to  organize practices and games. It helps you collect money from the players and send out schedules and reminders (via social networks or text messages). It also lets you find sports to play in other markets. It looks simple, but quite useful.

Vilynx has a solution for managing personal videos captured on multiple kinds of devices and stored in many locations, including multiple cloud services. What’s nice here is that it aggregates all the videos (even though they continue to reside in the cloud accounts) into an interface that shows summaries of the videos, making it easier to figure out which clip you want. It is currently an iPhone and Android app, with a Facebook app coming. Neat features let you upload and manage your videos among the multiple cloud systems, and even move videos among these services. It looks quite nice.

Social Bet Inc. showed, a Web-based platform that allows people to easily create a bet with their friends. You can create a sports bet or a custom bet (the Demo was a dinner bet as to when the next Zynga executive would quit) and set the amount. You send the bet to the person you want to challenge via text message and they can accept or decline. It keeps track of these bets, and if you don’t pay up, it sends nasty messages to your social network. It is a very interesting idea.

MyPref is another app for personal shopping, available on both iPhone and Android. You put in the name of a product and see who has it near you. If you’re in a store and see a product you want, but it isn’t in stock, you can list it. When you return to the store later, it can show you which of your preferences is around. It also includes preferences for local restaurants by pulling in suggestions from your friends. It uses a point system to figure out whether your friend’s tastes match up with yours. It looks very ambitious as a local and social shopping service, but a bit complex.

Blipboard is a mobile app designed to show you interesting things that are around you. It has a “map of things” that shows you places and events that are near you, based on your friends’ interests. You can tune it to “blips” from people and places, somewhat like “likes.” The company likes to think of the app as “Twitter for nearby.” It looks very simple and easy to use, though of course it will depend on finding a critical mass of users. It will be in the App Store shortly.

Go Factory showed a mobile app called GoMatic designed to help groups of people create their own “micro social systems,” by inviting people to events, creating shared photo libraries, and “journals” with memories of various events. It seems to do a lot, but isn’t particularly focused. It’s on iPhone now and will be on Android soon. The company seems to be more focused on the Go Machine platform features, which it plans to offer to brands trying to create their own apps.

Itography is an iPhone and Android application designed to help marketers create games where they place virtual game pieces in real-world locations. Players can “pick up” items in one location and “drop” in others, and can connect to services like Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter so players can see how others are doing. This is focused on combining social marketing and gaming. It’s not for me, but it’s interesting.

Seekly offers video speed dating, with the idea of finding out whether you should be dating someone in five minutes or less. You enter your sex, age, and city; upload a reference photo; and answer some “icebreaker” questions. It doesn’t have profile pictures or questionnaires because it thinks people do better when they actually talk to more people. If the two people both agree they’d like to date, then data is exchanged and you can arrange a meeting in person; otherwise, your personal information is hidden. (Even then, there isn’t much of that on the system to start with.) I’m not in the market, but it does a fun twist on the dating site concept.

Sustainable Reference showed, which lets you see sustainable people, businesses, and cities near you. A point system awards discounts to people who are more sustainable. At the moment, it only has Bilbao, Spain listed, but the company hopes to expand. I like the concept, but in practice, this is going to be difficult to scale.

KLIQ Mobile is a mobile app that allows you to mix and match friends across social networks and share videos. You connect your social networks to the app, then create “Kliqs” that involve a few of your friends (who may be on different networks). You can easily share with just that group. This uses the concept that we all have small groups that we want to share relevant content with. This is an Android app that should be out shortly.

Gnzo would like to be “Twitter for videos.” It lets you take videos with your iPhone and upload them to the site, then view a feed showing tiny thumbnails of all sorts of videos playing at once, either on the mobile device or on the Web. Videos are limited to six seconds. The iPhone app launched today, along with a blog widget that lets you post the thumbnail screens into a blog. It looks neat, but I’m not sure that will make people really need another site.

Flinja is a college-centric job finding service. It only allows registrants who have .EDU emails and is aimed at helping alumni post job offerings just to people who are affiliated with their school. The idea is that people would like to hire within their college networks. It’s a different twist on recruiting. This is currently only opened at a few universities, with more coming. I’m sure that students will like it, and it should work well for internships and piece work. I’m skeptical this will work for more permanent employment and standard recruitment, but I can see lots of colleges and alumni liking this a lot.

InTooch tries to help you manage your contacts and keep in touch with people you meet at places like conferences. You select the person’s email or phone number, and it sends a message via text or email; if they accept, you can exchange social media information, but just as much information as you’d like to share. It gives you a personal match score to let you know how likely you are to keep in touch. It looks like a clever app, but I’m not sure it’s really something I need.

PieceWise has a way of managing projects by dividing them into tasks or “pieces.” The demo revolved around making a pizza. The actual focus of the PieceWise service is to work on public projects where individuals can charge for products and services that go into creating some larger project. In other words, you can post your idea for a project and get vendors who can explain all the steps you need, and then bid on the parts they want. I suppose I can see this for things like planning weddings, but it seems like a niche market.

Source: PCMag

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