We recently did some consulting and web design for a small startup called Home Elephant. So often, we see products that don’t really solve a problem, or to put it another way, there are so many solutions out there that are looking for a problem. One of the founders, Chandler Powell, developed Home Elephant for his own neighborhood after a string of break ins. What began as a simple neighborhood watch tool was quickly adopted by surrounding neighborhoods and has since evolved into a neighborhood communications platform.
You have 3000 friends, but do you know who lives next door?
I’m not sure about everyone else, but does it seem like the social media we grew up with now needs to grow up with us? Again, maybe it is just me, but the original interest in Facebook was centered around connecting with people relevant to you, which worked well until the whole platform exploded. How in the world can we connect with each other with thousands of “friends” or tens of thousands of “followers”? It seems that the more followers and friends we have on these platforms, the less connected we are.
It seems that the original users of social media are becoming dissatisfied with the platform and are demanding more. Call it, “purpose beyond a poke” but it seems that there is a growing number of users that are getting less and less value from social media. Maybe I saw one too many episodes of “Mr. Rodgers” as a kid, but what ever happened to, “Won’t you be my Neighbor”? Rather than complain and write ambiguous blog articles, we built Home Elephant.
Home Elephant’s goal is to connect neighbors and ultimately transform a neighborhood into community using some really cool features- from a real time, map based alert system, (“I just saw a dude in a mullet in a van here- watch out neighbors!”) to a pretty snazzy chat section. We decided to leverage Facebook as the primary gateway for Home Elephant from either within Facebook or a browser. Anyway, we’re still in beta, so take a look and let us know what you think!
And for those who want a laugh, here’s one of the great Home Elephant commercials: