Late on a day in June 2014, Randy Davis turned on the news to see that their small-town courthouse — only a few miles from his home — had been under attack earlier in the day by a heavily armed lone gunman. A gun battle ensued for three minutes, leaving one deputy shot in the leg and and the gunman dead. The small town of Cumming, Georgia was rattled — people were on edge, traffic was at a standstill, and families were wondering how this could happen in their quiet town.
After the dust settled, what continued to rattle Randy was the fact that he’d been on social media numerous times throughout the day and although he’d seen lovely photos of his friend’s trip to the Grand Canyon, nothing in his ‘news feed’ alerted him to the near catastrophe that had occurred in his own town almost eight hours earlier.
Randy and his friend and neighbor Todd Moran quickly realized that social media as it stands today is broken with regard to sharing information with those in the immediate area. The breakdown lies within the friend/follower paradigm: We are not connected with those in our immediate location and even less so as our location changes during the day.
NearbyNewz presents a new way to share news by exchanging information — not with a pre-defined group of individuals — but with all of those around you who are also on the app.
After more than a century of serving as the primary vehicle for delivering news to the masses, print media has been largely replaced by the Internet — people want their news to be immediate, factual and actionable. Today, anyone with a mobile device and social media connectivity can report news, but how much of it valuable? How much of the ‘news’ on social media is interesting to and necessary for the reader? How much of it is clutter? How much of it is local?
NearbyNewz is a mobile app that decouples the friend/follow paradigm in social media to allow users to share information with other users based on location. The app gives users insight into what’s happening now in their immediate vicinity and empowers users to share information regarding what’s happening around them with the people around them.
At NearbyNewz, news is defined by anything that users deem interesting — a good play at the ball name, details of a presentation at a conference, a good deal at a retailer or restaurant, a structure fire, lane closures or a sudden change in the weather. If someone feels people close by could benefit from what they see, they post it.
While NearbyNews allows anyone to become a reporter, users rate each post for creditability, either elevating the reporter/poster’s status or lowering their creditability ranking. This helps ensure that the news reported has substance and is credible.
Most importantly, NearbyNewz takes people out from behind the wall of social media and engages them with their environment and the people in it.
Randy Davis, co-founder, NearbyNewz