Here are Bub.blicio.us, we like to try and cover as many parties and events that we can and one of the most common things that we usually see is the free-flowing amount of alcohol. This is typical of tech parties and combined with things like mobile phones and social tools, just one simple click and share could cause some unintended consequences for those in the photo or video. Come on, admit it, we’ve all been in those situations where someone takes a photo at a party where everyone has had one too many and then shares it on Facebook. The next morning, you wake up and realize that the photographer has tagged you in it, thereby allow your friends, family, and even co-workers to view it. What’s worse is if they had pushed it to a service like Twitter or Google+ with you associated with the tweet. The bottom line here? Social media, while it’s great to help you relive those memories, you’re going to want to make sure certain ones aren’t shared publicly.
Enter About Last Night. This mobile application is like the Facebook/Path version specifically for nightlife. It’s going to create a brand new community where people like yourself can hang out (virtually speaking) and share photos and videos. And once there, you can choose who you want to share the photos with or even keep them pretty private so that no one will ever see them in public.
Launched just today at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York City, About Last Night (ALN) was created by the “Dodge brothers”, Derek and Darren Dodge, who are the sons of Google’s Developer Advocate and legendary startup and tech insider, Don Dodge. It’s probably one of the few apps devoted to helping your nightlife experience be more social but adhering to that time-honored adage of “What happens here, stays here” and helps you maintain your privacy without impeding on your ability to share what you want. Sure, this app isn’t necessary if you wanted to just post those nightlife photos onto Facebook and have specific friends view them, but what about those photos where you have people who aren’t your friends but were there and you’d like to share photos with them? It’s going to take a bit more of an effort to friend them just so that they can see the photos. Okay, then what about Path? That’s a true private social network, but again, you’re limited in who can view your content and it’s only for 150 of your friends. Not really ideal and requires some major shifts in your relationships to make it work.
So what’s the next obvious choice? Take a look at About Last Night–there’s much potential for this application. It follows the standard model that what great applications like Path have followed–it’s a mobile first type of service. There is a website to view some information, but this service has only a mobile interface. When you first download the application, you’re going to be able to connect using Facebook Connect. Once you follow all of your friends, you’ll be able to see their updates, just like you would in any social network. Of course their updates will be limited to what photos they post through the ALN application. But what’s fascinating about this is that you or your Facebook friends can simply create your own photo about your nightlife experience (as you would with Facebook or Path) and it will be public (on the app) for everyone to see…well for at least a certain amount of time. It turns out that photos posted on the app only have a shelf life of about 24 hours. The shelf life of the photos will depend on how many people like the photo on ALN…those that receive the most thumbs up in the app will remain longer and look to forever be associated with that venue.
Both photos and videos can be shared on About Last Night and if you’re worried about some of your friends following you on ALN seeing some “unflattering” media about you and your friends? Well there’s a private feed that you can enable by simply tapping on a button or switch on your posts. Perhaps this is one of the best things about ALN because one of the things you just hate to have is that photo where you’re completely drunk and have certain “liable” photos that should not see the light of day. But no matter what you share on ALN, you will also be able to share them on Twitter and Facebook for others to see. Prior to TechCrunch Disrupt, I happened to use the About Last Night application and found this amazing photo of the development team with famed musician and entrepreneur, MC Hammer. I decided that it was worth sharing so within the app, I chose to share it and pushed it to Twitter for everyone to see. Users are able to customize their tweet and Facebook post accordingly to help set the mood and story behind what’s taking place.
About Last Night isn’t all about just being an application to hide or display a specific niche set of media. No, it’s also about helping you discover your next destination or understanding where to go to maximize your enjoyment. Take an event like South by Southwest for example–this is an event that is known for dozens of parties each night, many that are filled to capacity, but everyone wants to know which is the “hottest” place to go. Whether it’s partying late at night at the Driskill Hotel bar or perhaps going to a Mashable party or even the Foursquare extravaganza, if About Last Night was used, you’ll be one of the first to know if the lines are long, drinks are flowing, people are having fun, and whether special guest appearances are taking place. And what if the event has a special concert, like how American Express brought Jay-Z to SXSW? Well then people can just simply post their photos and videos to ALN and your friends will be able to gaze in awe over how great your night was without you flooding their stream with glorified content when they weren’t able to make it.
Through the use of location-based technology, About Last Night will be able to share with you some nearby locations that people are posting media to in case you felt compelled to stop in and take a look and spend some money there.
Nightlife establishments and even brands can also participate in this application. Right now the company has deals in place with Sam Adams and many more are expected to roll in shortly. The beauty here is that when individuals post photos at a venue like the Press Club here in San Francisco or the Belmont in Austin, Texas, what should (and probably could) happen is that a message could pop up notifying the user that they can receive a free beer or some cool amenity just for posting photos to that venue. Even though it’s probably only going to stay on ALN for 24 hours, the fact is that the venue/event or promotion is getting user-generated coverage practically for free. And if it’s a nearby venue or whatever, then by using a bit of interception marketing, the user might be targeted and enticed to go pay a visit to that other venue. Just like Foursquare specials, what About Last Night could specialize in is nightlife deals–alcohol and drinks, transportation, free cover, or maybe even accommodations.
While it might seem that this application is all exciting, there are some potential pitfalls and things that the company needs to overcome: the design of their website and logo still need a bit of work. It’s a bit of a mess to look at and if they want to be taken a bit more seriously, then this might be the way to go. Granted they poured most of their design work into their app and it looks pretty good, but when you want folks to download and find more information, a website is still key. Within their application, it obviously can use a bit more finessing on it–I’ve noticed that there are some images that, when shown, look pretty disproportionate and pixelated. Perhaps having them be displayed in a proportional way similar to what Path has might be more suitable? In addition, when people share photos outside of ALN and onto other networks like Twitter and Facebook, the link is a Google URL shortened one–can a branded link be implemented? Obviously any of these could be in their pipeline and depends on their user acquisition and monetization strategy, but it’s a pretty good start for an app.
About Last Night is currently available in the iTunes store. I have been told that the Android version of the application is being worked on and should be released in the next few months. The company is bootstrapped and looking to find some interested investors to potentially help fund their seed round.
Photo Credit: Embarrassing drunken photos via Michelle Rattinger/CollegeMagazine.com