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A Conversation Over a Gyro

A few days ago I took a visit to our apartment’s corner convenience store for a gyro. After a short wait, my friend and gyro chef extraordinaire Gabbiano paused before handing over the goods.

gyro lettuce tomatoes lamb delicious

“Can I ask you a question?” he started, with a hint of frustration. “How do I find someone online?  I have a name, but nothing came up on Facebook or Google. What’s the best way to find them?”

My mind spun. This was a perfect way to introduce someone to OurPangea and a textbook example of what it makes easier in day-to-day terms. In other words, this should’ve been a slam dunk answer. I wanted to tell him to sign-up for OurPangea which would let him find anyone as long as he knew the name or community the person is in (for example, Austin, Texas or Texas Gyro-lovers). I wished I could say “no prob, Gabbiano.  Just sign up, type in your friend’s name, and everyone that matches will show up. From there you can narrow it down by location.”

However, OurPangea is not live, so instead of those things I wanted to tell Gabbiano, I shrugged and answered, “Facebook and Google are really the best way right now.”  Seeing frustration and disappointment on his face I wished him luck and encouraged him that once our system was up this type of thing would be much easier.

A couple days later Noah and I were grabbing lunch with a few people to give a quick demo of our prototype and get their thoughts. We started off by going through the photos, a feature that aggregates all photos uploaded within a community’s groups. Through voting, the most popular photos become the main profile photo that represents the entire community.  Our friends thought that was so cool.  They started to imagine the possibilities themselves.

What if I took the photo that defined my city?

These two conversations happened independently, in a relatively short period of time. It says to us that what we’re doing is something that people want to use and see the value in.  We want your actions to have an impact on the community around you, and we created OurPangea to broadcast the most popular content, photos, and people of any given community. Picture how much value your interactions (posts, photos, events, opinions) could add if each public activity was broadcast to your city en masse? Your college or residence hall would be changed forever.

We’re into community building. We think there should be a better way to discover and participate in your communities. We’ve found a better way to represent real-life communities online by crowdsourcing the culture that makes them unique.

That’s what we’re doing. What you do with OurPangea is up to you.

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