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Use a Zipper Location or Everywhere


The Zipper is designed to be your local news and local gossip smart phone app to end all apps but sometimes, you want to create a story or thread that’s more general in nature.  How do you do this and when does it make sense?  We’ve considering  building the ability to have a general thread that isn’t area specific into the phone but it wasn’t an easy decision and required quite a bit of soul-searching, arguing and strong coffee.  Let’s take a look at why this once decision was so involved.

Let’s say you’re really into Star Trek (not casting any judgments here…live long and prosper fellow geeks).  You want to report on news or events related to Star Trek or just find fellow freakazoids to hotly debate Picard versus Kirk.  We get you.  You pop up the Zipper app to check and see what’s available when you search for “Star Trek”.  If you’re in L.A., hey…you might even see a signing by William Shatner but that’s not probably in you’re in St. Louis.  That being said, there may be other events Star Trek related in your local area that pop up.  Now the question is this…should what you see only reflect the people and events in your direct local area or should more general Star Trek news threads also pop up that are not in your area?  That’s the question in a nutshell that we wrestled with early on.  What are the pro’s and con’s?

On one hand, it is called the “LOCAL NEWS” app with the emphasis on local.  The whole point is to get and give local news and gossip in your area.  The thinking on this side of the argument goes this way…if you want general groups or non-localized, topic specific content, there are dozens of sites online that handle this and they do a pretty good job of it.  You can always check out Yahoo groups or a host of others all grouped around various topics.  Dare we say Star Trek is there and maybe even one dedicated to Ohura.  So why re-create the wheel?  Well, there’s something to be said for providing this info directly to the smart phone means of delivery…custom built for this access in fact as opposed to a website that tries to “also” provide smart phone integration.  Why not have this generalized (not localized) news and/or gossip on the Zipper app?  Now for the cons.

Local news and local gossip.  That’s it in a nutshell.  If we start to open the Zipper to non-local information, what exactly is it?  At that point, it runs the risk of becoming cluttered or just a smart phone version of Google which really isn’t needed.  Personally, Google works pretty well.  The part of the internet that we didn’t find what we needed was in the local space where we want local news updated instantly from all the people out there in my local area.  This speaks to me because I can’t currently find it now.  I can find groups based on any and every God-forsaken topic online already. 

In the end, the “Keep it Local” ruled the day and we decided that it’s better to one thing (local news and local gossip) really well than be a jack of all trades and water down the initial intent of the site.  We’ll look at the question again on the 2nd phase of the Zipper based on what people tell us they want.  If they want to “scrub” the area off a given message or thread, we’ll probably provide a way to do that.  Of course, any feedback from you is always helpful unless you’re asking us about the social impact that one Lieutenant Ohura had on American culture.  That’s a whole other topic.



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