For BlogWorld Expo, Zemanta created a range of buttons (or badges as we like to call it here in Europe) with different themes on them. The idea was to give them a quick way to show what they blog about and make it easier to connect to each other. (Seriously, at blogging events, people come to you and ask you “what do you blog about?” instead of the usual “so what do you do?“).
Why not expand on this concept? We’re all aware of the concept of familiar stranger. Lets make a service around this. Let’s say I ride daily with bus number 6 and am bored enough to be actually interested meeting some people with shared interest or just from similar age group and social background.
In that case I would go to a web-page/facebook group/etc. find the place and create an appropriate button that would be then mailed to me, and I would attach it to my bag, coat, whatever. I’d also get a few stickers so I can put them on my laptop and other areas, to give people enough chances to get the hint.
How would they look like? They’d probably need to be differently colored coded with some secret slogan. This whole emulation of secret society would allow you to seek other people without having to expose yourself to public scrutiny. It might also provide an outlet for some groups, giving you more initial boost.
What about business model? Bringing groups together is always tough. Making yourself a standard and allow different groups to connect to each other has to have some value in there. It would be some sort of cross between Get Satisfaction support and User Groups that provide peer support and counseling.
Groups are already doing this by issuing their own badges, what this startup would do would be to provide more structured approach to the whole community building and support around them.