Even in a digital age where we carry hundreds of friends on our phone, all within reach at the press of a button, we can feel alone. John Popel, one of the developers of the new app Chummy, realized this need and wanted to find a way to help people get through their day a little easier.
What is Chummy?
Chummy (Android and iOS) is like a downsized, localized, perhaps even kinder version of Craigslist. It's designed to connect people to others in their community, whether it be for help moving, finding a lost pet, or simply grabbing a cup of coffee.
"Like the 'Bat Signal' in the real world, we unite caring individuals who enjoy paying it forward and making the world a better place," the developers said.
Since its 2016 launch, Chummy has amassed more than 65,000 users.
How does Chummy work?
The Chummy app works based off of proximity and people's good natures. The app is free to install on iOS and Android. To reach out, write your request and pin the Help Signal onto the map. The app will display how many people have viewed your post and, of course, how many have responded.
After someone helps you, Chummy developers hope users will share the love and seek out other users in their community who might need a hand.
- The app's layout is more welcoming than Craigslist. Compared to the 23 year-old Craiglist website, Chummy is colorful and designed similar to familiar social media sites. Think Google Maps and Facebook Messenger hybrid.
- It's a good way to get information out further than simply using social media. The Chummy app website lists only a few of the endless ways to use the program. For example, having a wider audience that a user might not personally know could help with networking or having more eyes on the lookout for a lost pet.
- The app promotes face-to-face interaction and cultivating stable relationships. Chummy developers cite an Oxford study saying that most of our Facebook friends don't count as real friendships, just because we have hundreds. Chummy wants users to develop people they can count on.
- Could this turn into another hookup site? It only takes a few bad apples to ruin an experience. What are Chummy's protections against those with less-than-honorable intentions? Of course, some user discretion has to be applied, but Chummy, if used the wrong way, could easily become another Tinder.
- Using the app might be overwhelming for some. Some people these days struggle with face-to-face interactions, whether it be because they are introverted or anxious. If a shy person already has trouble interacting with people they know, how will they seek to form new friendships with strangers using Chummy?
- Is Chummy that necessary with sites like Craigslist and Facebook's Marketplace and recommendation features? Sometimes it's easier to stick with the devil you know. While Craiglist, with a few wrong clicks, can lead you into some strange places, it does have its benefits or it wouldn't have survived so long. Chummy might be a redundant app with people already used to venting about their day on Facebook, selling things on Facebook Marketplace, or asking their friends for recommendations on other social media platforms.
The Chummy app looks like it was developed with the best intentions. Its thousands of users seem to have few complaints, except that a user has to have a Facebook account to use Chummy. The developers unapologetically state that Chummy is their contribution to making the world better and kinder.
- Craigslist - This website is like the digital version of old newspaper classifieds. While it has its merits and uses, one wrong click and you can find yourself reading some pretty strange things.
- Facebook Marketplace - This section of the social media site is more specifically geared toward businesses and transactions.
- Nextdoor (iOS, Android) - The app is a private social network for specific neighborhoods. It offers such information as local recommendations, help, buying/selling, crime and safety alerts, and ways to meet your neighbors.
- Meetup - This app helps people connect in a certain area who have a shared interest or hobby like hiking, marathons, art, and tech. They can organize meetups or events through the app.