Does This App Exist?

Quick exercise: Think of the top 3 places in the world you’d like to visit in the next few years. Where are they?

When you’re ready with those locations, think of the people you know who live in or near those places. Unless you were already thinking of visiting those specific people, I bet it’s quite difficult to remember the people you know in those areas.

This is something I’ve run into a number of times for friends old and new, along with people who know me through Stonemaier Games and have said something to the effect of, “The next time you’re in X city/place, let’s get a drink, play a game, or play disc golf!” I think this would also be helpful for getting local recommendations for food, hotspots, activities, etc.

I have no good, consistent way of remembering where everyone lives, but I really want to find a good system for doing so. Google Maps is decent–I can pin “favorites” and other symbols anywhere–but that’s only good for people who actively contact me or whom I already remember.

So here’s what I’m envisioning: You tell the app the general location of where you live, and you select from your phone/Facebook contacts the people you’re fine with contacting you through the app if they also sign up (and invite them to the app if you’d like).

After that, anyone on the app can search for you and know your general location (e.g., your city, not your precise neighborhood); also, even without searching they can see where their phone/Facebook contacts live (again, general locations only).

If you’re visiting a city that matches someone you know, you can ping the person with the dates of your visit to see their desired level of involvement in your visit (just provide recommendations, coordinate a meetup, etc). They can ignore/block the ping or respond to it.

I think this could be helpful not just for friends/family and minor public figures, but also for fans of, say, major authors. For example, I could follow Brandon Sanderson on the app to get an alert if he’s visiting St. Louis (or just considering a visit–responses on the app could help him decide if it’s worth the trip).

What do you think? Does this exist? How would you use an app like this?

4 thoughts on “Does This App Exist?”

  1. This app exists for the bike touring community! It’s called Warm Showers. It’s a website and an app meant to connect the global community of people who travel by bike.

    Basically, you search for specific cities, browse via map, or look up specific members to find folks willing to support you on your bike trip. If your profile is currently ‘on a trip,’ you can access the network of ~185k members and reach out to them based on what they are signed up to provide, from local recommendations, to a cup of coffee, all the way up to hosting you for a night or more. I think the original philosophy was to -at minimum- offer a warm shower to people travelling by bike (which are very hard to come by on bike tours). If you are in between bike trips, you toggle your profile to ‘support’ where you can offer the same to people passing through your town or city, or opt out if you aren’t able to support right now. The network and app were once free to use, I think there is a fee to join now…but the support from members is freely given without any expectation of compensation.

    My wife and I used Warm Showers when we did a big bicycle trip down the west coast, and were able to find hosts and recommendations for new and unfamiliar places. We still keep in touch with the people we met to this day, and they are who we would reach out to if we were travelling to those areas of the country again. I know there are broader communities similar to this, like Couch Surfing, but we really enjoyed the niche community of Warm Showers because it was so specific to the trip we were on.

    • That’s brilliant! I like that it’s a category-specific app, and I’m glad you’ve had good experiences with it.

  2. Maybe we need to create one for the board game/convention community!

    BTW, if you’re ever in Cincinnati (like for CinCityCon in October, which I’ve read is very much like Geekway) then you’re always welcome to a room in our house.

    • Thanks Kevin! 4 kids might be a lot for me to handle, coming from a 2-cat household, but that’s very generous of you to offer. 🙂


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