As any regular partygoer can tell you, mobile phones are an essential part of the nightlife experience. You can use them to text-message from noisy dance floors, quickly grab the digits of cool new people you meet, and even find out where all your friends are thanks to social networking services like Dodgeball. But with a new service called PartyStrands, you can use your cell phone to actually shape the party.
Last Thursday night, I had the opportunity to hang out at the TechCrunch 8 Meetup party at BED (see photo), a pretty cool nightclub in NYC's Chelsea neighborhood. There were a ton of Web 2.0 start-ups that were using the event to get their names out there, but my personal favorite was PartyStrands. It's a creation of the music ratings site MyStrands. Basically, PartyStrands is a mobile service that lets you send text messages to be displayed on a screen at the venue (i.e. "Try the mojitos") or pick songs that you'd like to hear on the playlist. PartyStrands' Web site has a list of the venues that currently use its service--in cities like New York, San Diego, Dallas, and Seattle--and will likely have more to add when word starts to spread. Personally, I was impressed by how well the software worked, but I'm sure it'll lead to plenty of annoyances once people start requesting Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack" over and over.