While episode 24 of the Quick-n-Dirty podcast show ended up being a lot of fun, it definitely didn’t start off that way. Without going into too much detail, technical difficulties prevented my partner in crime, Jennifer Leggio, from dialing into the show until about 2 minutes int. Having done hundreds of podcasts and webcasts, I am pretty good at rolling with the punches but this definitely took me out of my “Zen” mode for the first five minutes of the show. To that end, I apologize to social network of the week, Sponty, because I was definitely a little distracted during this portion of the show.
To make up for my distracted state, I’m going to give Sponty a little more ink here than I usually do. I also want to note for Jennifer’s sake (listeners of the show know that she’s a Blackberry gal and any SocialNetwork that doesn’t provide a BB app gets a black mark in her book) that Android and Blackberry users CAN use Sponty via their mobile web interface (native apps coming sometime in the future).
In their own words…
Sponty is a mobile and web app that lets you create and discover social activity feeds around you. Many of our users create topical feeds that tell you about fun things happening around town, like indie music and hipster parties. Others use it to organize casual get togethers with friends. You can see the current activity here: http://www.thesponty.com/whatsup.
While location is important, Sponty’s premise is that the type of the activity, and which of your friends are going is a bigger determining factor for whether to go to something. I mean, if you’re already at the bar, it’s too late for me to join because I’d still need to jump and the shower and then the T (Boston’s public transportation). Sponty let’s people broadcast their social intentions so that their friends can join them.
So I can see why Sponty might be interesting to folks but my biggest concern — like any other geo-based social network — is that without critical mass, the tool becomes irrelevant. Can Sponty overcome this issue? Perhaps. But it might be a whole lot more useful if it could tap into Facebook and Twitter’s social graphs.
[postscript: I had forgotten that Sponty uses Google for it's login. Not only is this smart (and a trend that will continue to grow IMHO), but counters one of my biggest critiques of Sponty and any other geo-based social network i.e. mass adoption/critical mass.]
Now onto our guest of the week who was none other than Peter Shankman, aka @Skydiver on the Twitter. You may have heard of him because I interviewed Peter during my Experts in the Industry series back in the spring. Peter has also built up quite a business for himself through is “Help a Reporter Out” (HARO) network of over 100,000 reporters, bloggers, PR folks and experts. In a nutshell, think of this as a matchmaking network where reporters can request information from experts via e-mail alerts that go out three times daily from Peter himself. Peter makes money off his service (while filling a huge need) by selling sponsorships of his daily e-mail alerts.
During our 25 minute conversation, we all got a good laugh (Peter is a funny dude) at some of Peter’s insights and remarks when it came to “social media gurus.” In fact, his quote of the show, “If you have the word guru or expert in your Twitter name or bio, you’re not” got retweeted over a dozen times. Personally, I loved Peter’s prediction for next year that social becomes ubiquitous vs. companies trying to “do social.” He’s also endeared himself to me because he is a fellow hater of voice mail (a future post from me on that topic is in the works).
Next up was our Twitterer of the week, Dave Fleet. Dave is the account director for social media at Thornley Fallis Communications and does a little blogging in his spare time. I let Jennifer take the lead on this one as Dave was her choice. Jennifer likes Dave because of his cynical yet smart writing style. Personally, I’ve followed Dave for a couple of years and enjoy him for exactly the same reasons. Maybe we’ll have Dave on the show live sometime in the not too distant future.
For the signature portion of our show, our point/counterpoint, Jennifer and I focused on the topic of religion and social and more specificially, whether the two should mix. Jennifer wrote an eloquent post on this just a few days before and truth be told, I tend to feel pretty similarly to Ms. Leggio on this one. While I did disagree with Jennifer’s assertion that including one’s religion in their Facebook or Twitter profile wasn’t inappropriate, I did concur with her distate for those that prostheletize via the social web. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as our personal and professional lives continue to become intertwined over the years.
If you missed last week’s show, you can find the wrap up here on Jennifer’s ZDNet blog. You can also find archives on iTunes as well as at our Quick-n-Dirty podcast site over on BlogTalkRadio. We hope you’ll join us next Thursdsay as we talk to Karen Auby of Plantronics.