Silicon Beach: Give Good Miami Buzz on Your Smart Phone

Categories: Silicon Beach
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For those of you who aren't crazy about having a bazillion apps on your smart phone, here's one you might consider adding. Buzzd calls itself the "social city guide" and offers real-time reviews from real people hanging out at restaurants, bars, sports, and entertainment venues.

Buzzd also provides data such as location descriptions, phone numbers, and traveling distance.

If you regularly update your Twitter or Facebook status, this could be a cool application for your iPhone, BlackBerry, or other Internet-enabled mobile phone.

What's the difference between Buzzd and regular status updates? For one, if you join its Ambassador program, you earn points for prizes after a period of time. There's no cash involved, and no pressure; you just tweet the same thing you normally would.

You can also join Buzzd without being an Ambassador. Either way, you get your own profile page that lists all the places you've recently buzzed about (click here to see Maria's).

And best of all, you don't even have to join. You can use Buzzd without offering feedback.

A simple example: Let's say you go to Tobacco Road and have a margarita and some chili. Log in to your iPhone Buzzd app. Buzzd tracks your location and finds places near you. Click on Tobacco Road, then click "buzz it," and tweet whatever you want: "Margarita too sweet, chili just spicy and right." Then select the option to post to Twitter if you like. If you check the Twitter option box, no hashtag is necessary. The application automatically delivers your message to your profile on Buzzd and to your Twitter account. If you've linked your Twitter updates to Facebook, they'll also appear there.

Right now there is no integration with Twitter-based photo-sharing services on the iPhone, but let's hope that will come in the future.

Though Buzzd gives you real-time Twitter updates of what people have been saying about whatever venues are near your current location, there seems to be no editorial control of content. A simple search for tweets about a local Starbucks, for example, might be more about people's caffeine addiction than the actual quality of the coffee. These tweets aren't particularly useful. Buzzd should encourage its participants to tweet real and practical reviews in 140 characters or less.

The potential for Buzzd is great, however. Not sure what to order at a new Thai restaurant? A well-written Buzzd could steer you away from the curry and straight to the pad thai.

So far, Buzzd has been fun to use, but it needs to build up the database of venues, which participants can do via an online form. There's also a feedback email option on the iPhone app. That honky-tonk bar I went to in Homestead last week wasn't listed, but no problem -- name, address, and brief description went over to the editor.

Over time, Buzzd should boast a huge community-built directory of places to eat, drink, and have fun, but it should be reviewed regularly by real city experts. The greatest technology in the world isn't worth a dime if the content is unreliable or crappy. A recent look at a description of Bougainvillea's Old Florida Tavern in South Miami -- pulled from CitySearch -- describes the bar as having "charming tables set throughout the garden," which is true of a tiny area in the front but not of the back. You'll also find mismatched plastic tables and chairs set in the parking lot when the place gets overrun by drunk and horny UM coeds. That's hardly charming. Details, people, details.

Buzzd is currently in beta and is completely free to use. To become a Miami Buzzd Ambassador, contact melissa@buzzd.com. Otherwise, apply for an account directly on the site.


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