Highlighting the App With the Most SXSW Buzz

Each spring, South By Southwest, aka SXSW, takes place in Austin, TX.  Originally, it was a music festival, but it has since expanded to include film and interactive events.  It has become a hub for discovering fresh sounds in music, up-and-coming filmmakers, and the next big thing in internet startups.

For example, Twitter gained significant momentum at SXSW in 2007.  Attendees found that it was the best way to figure out where the most talked about panel discussions and parties were happening.  In 2009, it was Foursquare making a splash.

Given the fact that so many great internet startups have been discovered by the masses at the SXSW Interactive Festival, people often speculate which service will take the cake this year.  There are more choices than ever in 2012, but an early favorite is already emerging…

Don’t adjust your monitors, folks.  That’s just the logo for this year’s most talked about app, Highlight.

Highlight is touted as “a fun way to learn more about people nearby”.  It notifies you when you’re in close proximity to people you’re connected with via social media who are also using the service.  I know what you’re thinking, though.  This isn’t groundbreaking technology by any means, and you’re right.  There have been plenty of apps that notify you when your friends are nearby, but this is the first one that is actually catching on.

The problem that many social startups face is that they must be adopted by the masses to hold any value.  Imagine if you were one of a very few number of people on Twitter.  You’re broadcasting your tweets to no one, and your feed is pretty boring.  Google+ recently found themselves battling this issue as many people were signing up, but hardly anyone was actually using the platform.  It’s imperative that your idea spreads quickly, or it will fizzle out in less time than it took you to come up with the trendy name.

Highlight is combating this issue in several ways, most notably in the company they keep.  One of their investors is CrunchFund, which includes the founder of TechCrunch.com, Michael Arrington, and MG Siegler, a highly influential tech blogger.  Siegler, for example, is using his influence to build buzz about the app during the days heading into the SXSW Interactive Festival by making sure everyone knows how it works, and why it’s so great.  Connections like these are imperative for social startups to be successful.

So, go ahead and sign up for Highlight. Before you know it, your mobile device will start buzzing with notifications of people nearby.