Artown gets techie
Social media and technology get a bad rap for isolating people and changing the definition of friendship—but they don’t have to. Apps and websites can be used as tools to help coordinate and capture memories with your friends. And what better time to do this than during Artown?
Artown has an official app made by local company Big Robot Studios and is the quintessential resource for active Artowners. It’s been downloaded by several thousand people, and has a bunch of useful features, including a full calendar of events, Twitter feeds, lodging and booking resources, photo albums and more. Each event can be shared with friends on social media, and can be located using Google maps.
Hector Urtubia, who heads Big Robot Studios, says that he was approached by Artown planners after working on an app for Reno Passport. The Artown app was first released in July 2010.
“Initially we had some brainstorming sessions to see what would make sense to put in the app,” says Urtubia. “We knew for sure that having the calendar of events in July was the first priority. Then some info about Artown itself, like how to contribute and their sponsors. They have always been big proponents of integrating social media into the app, which makes perfect sense since Artown is, in a sense, a Reno-wide social and cultural event that lasts an entire month.”
The app is free and available for Android and Apple devices. Search for “Artown” in both app stores.
“The response has been great,” Urtubia says. “Both apps have good reviews in their corresponding app stores. Everyone I talk to mentions that they like the convenience of browsing the Artown events on their phones. It also shows Artown as a forward thinking event that acknowledges technology and modern media.”
According to Urtubia, social events can benefit from having a mobile component.
“I think that there is a big advantage to having the calendar of Artown events easily available on your phone,” he says. “Not on a computer, not on a piece of paper, but ready for you to browse at any time on a device you carry on your pocket all the time. I was personally really excited when I was tasked with these apps, because I’m a big fan of Artown, and I knew how much easier it would make it for me to find the shows I wanted to see.
“This year, we’ve added the ability to share events via Facebook and Twitter, which I think was a great move, since not only will I be finding good events to attend, but now I can have my friends find good events for me.”
If you want to incorporate more tech into your Artown experience, check out these apps:
Check in to venues, bars, restaurants, parks and more with Foursquare to help your friends meet up with you while you’re out and about. You can earn badges based on your check-in habits, like the “Local” badge—checking into the same place more than three times—or “Swarm”—checking into a place with more than 50 other people. Some businesses offer discounts or perks for people who check in on Foursquare while they are in their establishment.
If you’re going on a wine walk or beer crawl, use an app like Path to document your, well, path. Check in at each location, write a quick description of what you’re up to, and snap a picture. Other Path users will be able to track your activities and can comment or join up with you around town. You can even select the music you’re listening to while you’re hanging out with your friends.
Use a creative, unique hashtag—a word or phrase proceeded by a # symbol—to organize and tag photos taken on apps like Instagram. Photo apps will group together photos tagged with that particular hashtag, creating a sort of virtual album where you and your friends can look back on your snapshots. Try hashtag #mobileartown.
And if you’re at Rollin’ on the River and really want to get into the rock and roll groove, download the Virtual Lighter app to wave around during a performance. But if that’s taking tech a little too far, you can always just use a real Zippo.