After last week’s #TechRant, I decided it was necessary to highlight some of the great tools we can find online. As of yesterday, I was ready to post a long rave about LinkedIn. Think about it: LinkedIn has revolutionized the way we network with professionals and with over 150 million users worldwide, it was worth sharing some insights on how to use it. Unfortunately, earlier today, there was a report stating that millions of accounts were compromised after a hacker posted over 6 million user passwords online. It also turns out that their newly launched iOS App can access your calendar and meeting notes. You bet, that app is gone from my iPad! But that’s not what I want to talk about. If you haven’t heard about Airtime, you should get your hands on it, at least while its hot.
Last night, I read that Sean Parker, one of the first investors of Facebook, was “bored” of the social network. I was a little bit surprised but I knew something exciting would follow. Parker, after all, has been the man between ventures like Napster, Causes, and Spotify. It was today in the morning when I learned about Airtime, a whole new take on meeting people online. Airtime is similar to Chatroulette in the sense that you get paired up with a random user. You can videochat with other individuals anonymously and if you like them, even give them some points using a button in the middle of your screen. To read more about how Airtime works, check this review from Mashable. At first it might be a little scary, (like i said, you are paired up with a random individual) but I assure you, it is worth a try.
I would have never written about Airtime had I not given the site a test drive. So today, I spent my entire afternoon using the site. Here are my thoughts:
First of all, Airtime generates a list of topics that will serve as a basis to pair you up with other individuals. Therefore, the pair up inst entirely random. The site does look for ways to pair you up with people who have the same interests, are in a similar age group to yours, and are close around to the areas your Facebook profile says you’ve lived in. Before going live you do have the option to edit that list; that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t want to have a super broad set of interests listed; I wanted to focus on talking to people who had a strong interest in technology. I deleted all of my interests and put in a list of 8-10 different tech related interests that I wanted to be paired up through. If you’re looking to talk to a specific group people I strongly recommend you do this because the more interests you have listed, the more different individuals you can be paired up with.
I must admit, at first I was kind of nervous and hit the “next” button a couple of times. I later found out that you get a 30 second time out if you repeatedly hit the “next” button. Therefore I decided to start talking some more.
The first long (by long I mean 2 minutes) conversation I had was with a recruiter. Apparently he wasn’t very happy with the service. He said he wanted to look for individuals that might be interested in working with him and that Airtime didn’t have the tools necessary to do this. We didn’t talk for much, but he did say goodbye.
I then stumbled across the founders of a start up called boxy.co . I must say this was the first good conversation I had. They’re a company based in Georgia, and the person whom I was paired up with was born the same year I was. After introducing ourselves, he proceeded to give me a short pitch about the site and was very excited once I told him I was talking to him all the way from Honduras. For those of you interested, boxy is a tech support site for all Apple users. The premise is that you can help by giving tech support to others and in exchange get “tips.” Its a cool concept that I later found was similar to Airtime. Regardless, if you are an Apple user, or more importantly, Apple expert I definitely recommend you check it out!
On a sad note, our conversation ended abruptly. I don’t know what exactly happened because I didn’t click the “next” button but Im pretty sure it was due to my slow internet connection. Oh the pains of living in Honduras….
Afterwards I started talking to Ian Idels, a band member from Talk of Shamans. Based of California, Ian talked about his band, his passion for music, and his hope that someday, he’ll make it big in the music industry. We had a brief conversation about how Social Media has revolutionized the music industry, specially for those that don’t have a major recording contract. Today, platforms like SoundCloud and MySpace continue to serve as a medium for emerging artists to promote themselves. If you like, check their music on SoundCloud by clicking the link above.
Finally, one of the best conversations I had was with Austin Soldner (@asoyolo), an app developer for NoiseToysInc. I had a pretty cool conversation with Austin about where we were from and talked a little bit about technology. Again, talking about Honduras was a good conversation starter. Austin also mentioned that he was at work and lives in San Francisco. What I liked the best is that we were able to exchange information. I immediately followed him on twitter, and learned all about Austin’s new project, playground.fm. Playground is an iOS app designed so that you can create playlists. The great thing is that you and your friends can collaborate on the playlists and access them once finished. Great party app right? It was a cool find and I definitely encourage you to download it. Its free and you can find it in the App Store.
…and that was the end.
The thing about initiatives like Airtime is that when first launched, few people are willing to try it out. Therefore, a lot of the individuals that go online are either industry specific or local (California area in this case) and are eager to make connections. I don’t know what the future will bring for Airtime but I recommend you give it a try during its first week, specially if you are interested in start-ups, Social Media, App Development, and emerging music bands/artists.
I am eager to see how many users airtime will manage to attract and actually retain. As for now, I couldn’t be more satisfied. Airtime is not only innovation, it is also recycling. Ideas similar to Airtime (yes, I mean Chatroulette) have been around for some time now. What makes Airtime special is that it brings a new approach to an already pitched idea. That is what makes technology so exciting. To be innovative, you don’t necessarily have to reinvent something, you can just make it better!
So go ahead and be unafraid! Give Airtime a try; you could potentially meet your new favorite artist, a future business partner, or a friend from all across the world.