Location-based social media, like Yik Yak and GIS 311 reporting enable those in a certain location to report problems or communicate with those directly around them. YikYak is very popular with high school and college aged students because they allow for interaction with people just within a specific range of distance from one-another. With YikYak, the combination of this and anonymity make it popular for sharing gossip on college campuses.
A newer app called Keadle, however, whose developers pitched it on Reddit at the beginning of last year, decided against the anonymity factor that YikYak uses, and instead created a social networking site which hosts messages from friends at physical locations. Billed as a digital geocaching tool, until the user enters the location where a friend has left a message, messages are not visible. This creates a sort of social scavenger hunt, which Keadle says encourages interaction and real world experience.
While receipt of these geolocated messages is limited by the requirement of building a network within the application in order to view messages, this sort of technology, if used in a social media strategy, could “friend” community members. Nonprofits could use the app to take community members on a tour of projects (Habitat for Humanity build sites, community beautification projects, AmeriCorps work sites, etc.) when they enter an area where the nonprofit is active in the community. Push alerts to geocached service sites would make traveling through town into a tour of their impact.
This concept could also work for service opportunities. An organization like VolunteerMatch or Idealist could geocache volunteer locations, allowing interested users to be aware of opportunities in their proximity. I think the hyper-local, location-based messaging is a very interesting opportunity to explore, as it appeals to a younger generation and allows for “right here, right now” interactions.
Another, even broader use of this technology might be as a new application, marketed toward young people who are increasingly mobile and often settle in new communities for college and work. An application which uses the same premise as Keadle (that is, push notifications when you enter an area) might tag several aspects of social capital–sports leagues, volunteer opportunities, civic opportunities, and the like–so that citizens new to the area can download and learn about the new areas they drive through. Users might choose to receive push notifications about specific topics–city service locations, volunteer sites, community gardens, etc, or receive every notification as a push notification, but just on the first pass by.
Below, find some links describing Keadle: