While social media has generally been a force for good in our lives, especially for those getting the word out about sustainability, there has also been a downside: information overload. Sites like MySpace and Facebook try to be everything to everyone, and, in the process, leave us overwhelmed with a mountain of work to sift through that which is meaningful and relevant from that which is, well, frankly, meaningless drivel.
In order to keep control over our content, who sees it and when, we are left with complicated privacy settings, and the unhappy task of dividing our friends” into categories which may not fit all cases.
Blasterous.com founder and CEO Tim Reeth hopes to change all that, at least as far as managing the communications you have with your genuine network of friends, family and neighbors. To him, that means providing users better controls over organizing their connections into custom lists, which are 100% private, to those people in the list.
For example, I recently created a Blasterous list called Sergeant Steve’s Cigar Pals,” and invited all my cigar buddies to it. In this list, we talk about our favorite cigars, and share what’s going on with our cigar brands and cigar smoking, both local and world-wide. Because Blasterous is so location centric, when we’re “blasting” about cigar lounges in another city, members local to that city will know exactly where we are talking about. With Blasterous Place pages, members can also find detailed info about the location, or link the location to a blast.
Currently in Beta, Blasterous, is a hyper-location-based social platform, available on the web or on the go; currently with an app for iPhone, and Android. Users can share local and time sensitive information in the form of a blast”; which, unlike Twitter’s 140, are 240 characters in length, can have up to 5 images per blast and contain hyperlinks. Additionally, those with permission to view a blast are able to add their comments, thereby generating a stream of dialog. What makes Blasterous truly unique, is that users have the choice whether to share blasts publicly, via their geographic location (geos”), privately, via custom lists, or both.
Location, Location, Location
For a group of cigar pals, privacy may not be a primary concern, however, privacy becomes much more important when you want to do things like organizing a political campaign, sharing your travel itinerary, or, even organizing a flash mob.
It’s when you add in the location-based features that Blasterous gets really interesting. Since I can view my blasts by my location, I can easily find which of my cigar buddies is close by (an important thing, because no-one wants to enjoy their cigar alone), and meet up with him.
Even better than that, cigar lounges (and other businesses), in various locales, can send blasts out to their local geo, including, perhaps a two-for-one deal, and if I happen to be in the area, it will show up in my stream, which has already updated, in real time, to my current location. So, not only can I find one of my buddies (private), but I can find someplace for us to go (public). Of course, the business itself might have a private list of their best customers, to whom they send even better deals (and I hope I’m on that list, as well!).
It’s easy to see how a hyper-local product like Blasterous could be a boon for sustainable businesses which depend on their local community, such as local food suppliers, community services, groups that reuse consumer products, bike- and car- sharing organizations, and more.
Once I’d written this, I realized that there was a lot more to say about Blasterous, and the concept of hyper-local social media services; so I met up with Blasterous Founder and CEO Tim Reeth, and asked him a few questions. I’ll post the full interview in Part 2.
How do you currently use location-based social media services? Let us know by leaving a comment!