This weekend I attended the Evo Conference – a new conference dedicated to “The Evolution of Women in Social Media.” It wasn’t like any conference I’d ever been to and since my dear friend Kelly Olexa invited me to be on her panel, I agreed and made the trip out to Park City, UT for the weekend…I know, life’s rough. The panel was dedicated to “The Future of Location and Mobile technologies and how they apply to Social Media.
My discussion focused on awareness of how location information is proliferating across the web. I spent time updating the ladies on where we are today with mapping and location (everyone loves imagery); what mobile applications are relevant today (foursquare, Twitter, Gowalla); what location applications are about to bust out (StreetSpark, Flook, Facebook) and my thoughts on where the world was going, why location can be powerful and with power comes much responsibility in both the companies that are using it and the users that are contributing to it. I talked about my vision of real time camera feeds being broadcast over wireless networks with map data and any relevant location data being augmented over the reality as it streams in real time. I talked about the disappearance of the base map and the constant complaints of outdated imagery and how we could change that by tapping into camera feeds from both cameras around the world and people switching their text-based Twitter feeds to a streaming video channel of what it’s like to look out my eyes simply by turning on my camera phone. I ended the discussion with a brief synopsis of how all this location information is being fed out through these different mediums, appearing in search results and could at some point put everything about you in the palm of someone’s hand via web services.
Let me talk through this most critical slide – I called it “Knowing You Before You Know I Know You.” First, I have dinner with my dear friend Blake (we take a photo). I upload the photo to Facebook and tag her, so my friends can see us together. I tweet it out over Twitter so the world knows about it. Facebook and Twitter are both pushing data into Bing (and Google) for indexing. It’s rumored that Google is working on some facial recognition search queries so that you can identify a person by their picture. In fact, both Bing and Google have image searches that when you put in text you can find pictures of the people – text-based, of course. Now, let’s say a friend of mine sees Blake walking down the street and wants to learn about her. He whips out his phone, turns on the camera which identifies her using the facial recognition software. Queries are made over the web to find all kinds of information about my girl and next thing you know my friend knows more about her than I do! Hmm. That is some powerful stuff. Perhaps a little scary, but as a celebrity the more people know about you the more they feel they know you; thus, the more they’ll see your movies, buy your albums or listen to your Bing Maps Webcasts. Okay, wishful thinking.
At the end of the day, my talk was to provide awareness. This conference was about women. Women tend to worry about different things than men (I know, a HUGE generalization, but you know what I mean). Security, privacy and the information about you on the web is critical to their well-being. We all want to control what information is divulged how, so it’s important to understand the relevant technologies that are immerging that could affect that.
The conference as a whole was extremely well put together and jam packed with good speakers touching on sensitive topics about empowering women. If you’re a woman and you have any kind of presence online, you just missed the conference of the year. So, plan for next year. I can only hope to be invited back. For more recap about the Evo Conference, check out Rachael Herrscher’s blog post on Today’s Mama. And, hey, you know a conference is awesome when it ends up with 30 women jumping in a pool at once.
Well done, ladies. Well done.
Follow me @BingMaps, ^CP