A great idea wrapped in a bad one…

30 Mar

A very interesting new app came out called Color.  Now the app is interesting for a couple reason’s, the least of which is it’s function.  It has a list of recognizable developers, $41 million in startup money and, as witnessed be the comments in the article, not much respect among the public.  I have to agree that I found the overall concept silly, and, to my 34 year old mind, not much useful.

That’s not to say that it didn’t spark a very interesting thought.  Within the app is a color wheel that apparently changes color based on the strength of your tie to another person.  If you “check in” with someone, that color gets stronger.  This led me down that path of a separate game app that uses this technology.  What I envision is a game-like app (along the lines of foursquare or Waze) that takes a daily task and gives awards to those who are proficient.  Although we all know folks who have 500+ connections on LinkedIn and over 1000 friends on Facebook, the ability to quantify the strength of those relationships is more important than the absolute number.

Here’s how the app would work.  The core would be web based and would allow you to connect to Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Blogger, Twitter etc.  This desktop app would aggregate your activity from all the different sites.  For example, every time you check in with someone else on Foursquare, have a reply to your tweet or have someone comment on your update on LinkedIn that data would be organized in this new app.  Each relationship you have on the various sites would be quantified, and, taken as a whole would comprise your “score.”  Those with a higher score would be more connected.  There would be benefits for all those involved:

  1. Users would be able to show that they are not simply accumulating numbers, but actually developing meaningful relationship.  Those with a higher score would be more valuable to advertisers, thereby earning free gifts from either the advertisers themselves, or via the social networks.
  2. For the social networks-increased use.  Another frustration with the current system is those with 50 strong connections and 50 weak appears to have less influence than someone with 1000 “garbage” relationships.  The networking sites could leverage different levels of members for a tiered advertising system.  That is to say those with 50 strong connections would rate a higher advertising rate than someone with 1000 garbage “friends”
  3. For companies looking to maximize their marketing dollars a defined way of knowing what impact your ads will have.  Just as bonds are rated AAA and down, you could buy ads of varying prices that have varied impact.

This model could be expanded to any online site that has an API or RSS feed.  Although those with a strong online social network will benefit the most, even those with limited online presence can be “found” as their are marked as checked in by someone with the social apps.

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Posted by on 03/30/2011 in Uncategorized


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