Next month thousands of internet enthusiasts will descend upon Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest conference. This year the my.SXSW area of the site is changed as it is now powered by a Virginia-based company, the Social Collective. The service leverages the Facebook Connect service for finding which of your friends will be in attendance at the conference next month.
I checked and at least 200 of my Facebook friends will be at the conference which is kind of ridiculous. The service also implements a twitter like service for connecting with your friends on the site. Messages outside of the private SXSW network are not imported into the system and instead you must post separate updates from within the network.
This implementation of Facebook Connect is extremely basic, illustrating how there is a wide spectrum of Facebook Connect implementations. On the my.SXSW site, the service alerts users to friends that have already registered for the event. This is just one of numerous ways that Facebook Connect has help instantly drive up engagement on a site.
One issue that I have with my.SXSW is that it doesn’t pull in the external posts of users (via Facebook or Twitter). Pulling in external tweets or status updates would instantly increase the content yet it could also detract from the conversation which is intended to be completely about SXSW on this individual portal. [See update below]
Ultimately I think Facebook Connect will become more ubiquitous moving forward as developers and businesses begin to understand the best practices regarding Facebook Connect. SXSW is yet another example of how Facebook Connect can instantly provide value to any site that chooses to implement it.
Apparently the platform does automatically filter in external content. Currently the system is set up to import specifically tagged tweets as well as Flickr photos. I spoke with the founder of The Social Collective who said that they are considering enabling additional feeds to import as well. It’s a great platform, now the only thing we need to see is if people actually begin to use it regularly.