The problem with networking at conferences and industry gatherings is that most people tend to gravitate toward people they already know. Hitchie wants to help you break out of your mold by creating ‘flash mob’ social networks just before conferences to help you make new contacts.
Carlo and Fabian Markaban started work on Hitchie after they saw that professionals who were attending events and meet-ups mostly ended up talking to colleagues or known business contacts. They wanted to create a way for them to meet interesting new people instead.
Think of Hitchie as a speed dating session but for making business contacts.
The organizer of a Hitch schedules a session just ahead of an event or conference. Attendees can then head over to Hitchie and log in using Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook. Once they’ve logged in, they just click Attend to indicate that they will be attending the session.
The page for the Hitch gives you the ability to spread the word via those same social networks. You can also see who’s attending and who’s hosting.
Once the Hitch begins you’ll have between 5 and 8 minutes to video chat with another person attending the Hitch. You can also IM other attendees. Talk to some new people, make e-notes about interesting professionals that you’d like to remember and move on to the next person.
Hitchie aims to lower the barriers that normally exist for attendees of an event to begin conversations with new people. It’s an accelerant for social interaction at your conference that should spark new relationships and conversations.
Organizers gan sign up for an invitation to a Hitchie beta account that will allow them to set up a group and start scheduling Hitches now at Hitchie’s site.
Hitchie officially launches today at the TNW 2011 Conference. There will be a Hitchie speed networking event scheduled for the conference. You can go to the events page here and click on Attend to sign up to be a part of the very first public Hitch!