Much has been written about Highlight, the social discovery app which launched in February and was immediately anointed by the tech press as THE NEXT AMAZING THING at SxSW. I’ve used Highlight ever since it first debuted and I have to admit: I just don’t get it. So much so that I finally disabled the location setting the other day, which is one step away from deleting it off my phone entirely.
Sure, Highlight notifies me when some interesting people are around but then what? I mean, really. Then what? Send a weird tweet about it? The app’s tag line reads “A fun way to learn more about people nearby” but I haven’t noticed that happening at all out in the wild. Unless you count the time a date and I were leaving a party and someone yelled out that they saw him on Highlight just then. Meh. It just seems to turn us into voyeurs with no action, which makes me uncomfortable.
After TechCrunch crowed about how revolutionary this app is and Scoble echoed the sentiment, I saw an uptick in adopters and alerts but still no actual activity. That is until the morning I was standing in Embarcadero Station, minding my own business, and a random (male) friend of a (fairly douchey) Facebook friend messaged me: “Hi.” Creepy. This phenomenon is what Alexia foresaw as a barrier to full-time adoption by women, which will kill Highlight if their business model is supported by the theory that sex sells. After that experience it took me a while to re-enable my location settings; I was incredibly skittish.
Since then, Highlight has felt like a populated ghost town that sends alerts willy nilly. I don’t understand why I’d want to use up precious iPhone battery power on an app that simply doesn’t provide a service. I appreciate that some, perhaps more visionary, tech bloggers see it evolving into assisting recruiting services, a business card replacement or a way to get a date, but it just doesn’t hold water for me. Who knows. Maybe Highlight will prove me wrong.
But until then, don’t get me started on that logo.