One new startup, Shaker, is aiming to make Facebook actually like going out with your friends for a wild night on the town, complete with virtual drinks.
If you like going out with your friends on the weekends, or even on weeknights, but don’t want to brave bad weather, crowded dance floors, expensive drinks, or hangovers, then one Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup is aiming to replicate the expereince of going out with your Facebook friends.
Of course, Facebook (privacy settings notwithstanding) is a great way to keep in touch with all the people you may have talked to once or twice in high school or college, but updating your status, sharing your pictures of your new baby (or cat if you don’t have any kids) isn’t quite like actually socializing with your friends.
Let’s let Shaker founder Adam Rakib explain Facebook’s drawbacks:
Facebook’s design also encourages users to stick to interacting with a few people they know. There is a chat function, but it seems that few people actually use it, or at least that’s been my experience. The site also suggests people that could be friends, but Facebook culture seems to find it awkward to friend people you don’t know in real life. Perhaps you’ll find someone from Twitter who asks to be a friend, but your social circle on Facebook generally represents your high school, college, family, and work friends.
Shaker aims to change all that. The startup aims to turn Facebook into the hippest bar in town, “where things happen,” according to their slogan, complete with (what else?) a bar serving virtual drinks, a dance floor, a DJ, and all of your friends and their friends of friends. Your profile pic shows up on an avatar that walks around the bar and chat with your friends and anyone else who shows up. You can figure out who your friends are versus your friends of friends by color coding their status. Shaker hopes that the ratio of friends to friends of friends to actual friends will tip in favor of your actual friends. Hopefully, Apple won’t “leave” their iPhone prototype there.
Shaker made its debut at TechCrunch’s annual Disrupt conference, and the founders say the response has been so good they’ve had to shut the site down, only accepting invites right now on their webpage. If the buzz has been this good, then Shaker may be one of the Web’s fun new hangouts, one that never has a cover charge and one that never closes. Perhaps, like the “Cheers” bar, Shaker will be the place where everybody knows your name.