Making friends at Cons: the art of ConnectiKon

29 AUGUST 2014

A few months back, I posted about a new app called ConnectiKon. Designed to help Comic-Con attendees make friends and find events aligned with their interests, the app was a huge hit at SDCC – not only with attendees and fans but also with exhibitors and local businesses.
Here's how it works. You tell the app what city you're in, tap the keyword reflecting your interests, and see a list of users who match up. You can check them out and send them an Instant Message if you want - and you can post your own keywords too. And you can do all of this safely and privately, because you only reveal the information you feel comfortable sharing. 
Given that Labor Day Weekend is our entry into the second half of Con season, I decided to go back to creator Adam Klugman and revisit the app’s potential for other Cons. Dragon*Con kicks off this weekend, Salt Lake Comic Con is next weekend and that’s followed by Rose City Comic Con, New York Comic Con, and San Diego Comic Fest just weeks after that – all of which are prime breeding grounds for ConnectiKon users.
Adam, remind me again: what was the impetus for creating this app?
Well, we noticed that social media space was all about sharing. That’s how people use it, generally. We wanted to expand the horizons of what was possible in social media and evolve it - not technologically but through how we use it. We feel that’s the next evolution in social media: how people are using these platforms. We felt that it was time to move past using social for just sharing and virtual connections and move on to using it for real world connections.

Several studies have shown that many social media users have actually become more lonely and isolated – their virtual connections don’t satisfy their needs for real human connection. Our goal was to create an app that fostered real-world interaction.

I know the app launched right before SDCC this summer. What was the reception?
It was great. Of everyone who tried it, 70% returned to use it again, and most spent a fair amount of time on the app; the average use time was 12-15 minutes. What surprised us was that it wasn’t just attendees using it to find events and meet each other; vendors used to advertise offers and local businesses and restaurants used it for promotions. For instance, McFadden’s used it to advertise their cosplay events.

What we think is so great is that any group can find anything – Spiderman lovers can find other Spiderman lovers; Bronies can connect with other Bronies. It’s an app where you can get your arms around every community. You just have to put yourself out there.

Will it ever be available for Android?
We’re working on the Android version. Our idea is to keep tweaking and perfecting this version, then create a clone for Android. That should happen within the next 6 months.

Inquiring minds want to know: what’s your specific nerd background, besides attending Comic-Con?
I’ve been an avid comic book collector since I was 10 years old. Spiderman was my favorite growing up. I even had Spiderman #1 for a while – I found it in Hollywood in 1971 for $40. But I sold it a few years later for $80 when I needed the money. I kick myself for that to this day. I’m also a big sci-fi nerd.

Are there any unusual ways the app can be used, besides finding events?
ConnectiKon is designed to be flexible and accommodate whatever users are looking for. You post your keywords and get connected to other people who share those interests. We call it the dating app for people who aren’t looking for a date, so theoretically people can use it in many ways. I have to say that I’m looking forward to users showing me the creative ways they use it.

Based on how flexible it is, it sounds like ConnectiKon can be used at business conferences and other big events – or even just at home.
That’s true. It’s the people’s app. There’s no intermediary; you can use it to find a racquetball partner or find a date or a find a group that shares your interests. It’s about finding your crowd and connecting with them. That’s why it works at Comic-Con and that’s why we designed it with the Con in mind - because nerds are playful, tech savvy and open to new things. But it could also work at the Olympics or anywhere else your kind of people are, anywhere you have greatest opportunity to connect.

So there you have it; at just a few months old, ConnectiKon is thriving and ready to help you go to more parties, make more friends, or just locate the one vendor at the Con who has the lost collectible you're hunting. Maybe you're trying to find a Star Trek party at Dragon*Con this weekend. Maybe you're thinking about organizing a meetup for your favorite show at Rose City Comic Con next month. Whatever's on your agenda, ConnectiKon can probably help - so live up to its tagline "Do Something" and give it a try.

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