By Dana Harris | Indiewire June 6, 2011 at 5:30AM
Finding the people you want and avoiding those you don't can make film-festival schmoozing can seem like an Olympic event. Here's the good and bad news: A new iPhone app promises to level the playing field.
It's called (appropriately enough) Sonar. And, using social network data, it shows who's in a room with you.
You can see who else is checked in on Foursquare or Facebook Places, as well as which one of them shares your Twitter or Facebook friends. You can send a message to any of them with a click in order to make a connection in real life.
“Talking to someone on the street is harder than talking to someone in a bar,” says founder and CEO Brett Martin. “Talking to someone in a bar is harder than talking to someone at a house party. What we’re trying to do with Sonar is show people when the person on the street is the same person at the house party.”
Martin hopes to reduce this problem by adding implicit checkins — such as when people respond to an Eventbrite invite. He also hopes to broaden the checkin pool to include geotagged tweets, Instagram photos and foodspotting images.
This technology is still quite new -- Sonar only launched last month -- but the applications for the festival circuit are both awesome and terrifying. Instead of squinting at a crowded party, wondering if it's worth the hassle of fighting your way through the room in search of people who may not be there, Sonar can case the joint for you.
On the other hand, if you're one of the people who's accustomed to turning your badge around to hide from rabid filmmakers, you're out of luck -- unless, of course, you use Sonar as a way to figure out when you need to get the hell out of Dodge.