Over the past few months I’ve been curiously tinkering with Hashable, a interesting new tool for managing who you’re meeting with and introducing. The service allows you to log real world interactions in a number of ways. Android users could log a connection with a specifically crafted tweet, by sending an email, or by entering the meeting manually on the Hashable website. Starting today, you can log interactions with a beautifully styled native Android app.
The idea behind Hashable, while a bit tough to explain, is a totally solid one. Instead of fumbling with a stack of business cards, you can quickly log the people you meet, live, in the moment. Hashable then stores all your interactions and starts to build a web of real world social influence. Lately I’ve found myself collecting Twitter handles when I meet people anyhow (nerd alert, I know), so I figured I might as well try logging them with a service that actually did something.
The Hashable website has a pretty solid step-by-step that explains everything, but I’ll try to summarize for the skimmers. The service breaks down into a couple a categories: connections (“checking in” with someone in person) and introductions (digitally introducing two people). When posting a connection, you can assign a hash to classify the interaction. There are a number of pre-defined hashes (#lunch, #meeting, #drinks, etc) that Hashable automatically recognizes or you can create your own (#frisbeegolfing, #breakingthelaw, etc). One of the most important hash tags is #justmet, which will send your new friend a digital business card. When using the service to introduce others, Hashable creates a nifty page that displays the participants and some very basic info- a digital icebreaker of sorts.
On top of the app being an insanely easy way to track connections in the moment, Hashable offers a handful of tools for making sense of the social data you log. Each person you connect with gets a personal history, showing each interaction and keeping track of your relationship strength. They recently launched the inner circle, which is a way to share your connections with those you trust. If you’d like to be public, though, they’ve got that covered too, with leaderboards and a reputation system called Hashcred.
To make Hashable a more seamless process, they’ve included a bunch of 3rd party account support. Clearly, a large part of the service is built around Twitter, but you can also import contacts from your Google Account, LinkedIn, etc. Hashable can even watch your Foursquare account to automatically create location-specific interaction logs.
For all the things that Hashable does right, it still feels like they have a ways to travel. I think the core issue, though, is just that Hashable is a pretty wild idea. It takes a moment to wrap your head around what the service even does and takes even longer to derive real use from it. Personally, it seems like a totally worth experiment and I’m looking forward to using it during SXSW. I imagine I’ll meet quite a few people who I’ll want to talk to on Monday morning and now I won’t even have to remember their contact information.
PS: For those of you that have downloaded the app and are feeling lost, Hashable has created a handy cheat sheet for getting the most out of the service.