Now there’s This Is Our Stop, a social networking venture that will commence in Vancouver on Thursday. This is essentially being marketed as a social networking site for bus stops. It is a project developed by co-creators Tylor Sherman and Todd Sieling and is an open source project of Denim & Steel and Sam Dal Monte.
The site is, of course, designed primarily for mobile device users.
The general idea is to visit the site and “Give voice to the secret lives of your favourite bus stops in Greater Vancouver.” Users can visit the “experimental conversation space that connects people around bus stops across the region” and enter the five-digit code from any Vancouver bus stop.
From there, users are given a map of the stop, arrival time information and a big text box that allows users to anonymously “talk about the stop.” This is designed to help “make city life more friendly.”
According to Sieling, users are invited to talk about anything from the weather to the condition of the bus stop in question. Things are left deliberately open-ended to allow for a free flow of “conversation.” Says Sieling, “It’s kind of an experiment. We’re treating it like there’s a chalkboard hanging in the bus stop, and anybody can grab a piece of chalk and write on it.”
A quick perusal of one of the stops, specifically the 50771 at Kingsway and Main Street, reveals a rather interesting but tedious confluence of conversation. “Someone threw a garbage bag on top of the bus shelter. Why are people such jerks?” reads one message. “I wish someone would give this stop a proper garbage bin instead of a bucket. It’s currently overflowing and crows are spreading it around and making a mess,” reads another.
This Is Our Stop is another attempt at capturing a smaller niche of social networking. Considering the likes of Facebook as the “big box stores” of social media leaves market space open for tidier opportunities like this one, but one has to wonder how much is too much. While sites like This Is Our Stop may have a novel purpose in mind, whether they really create a more social or “friendly” city is up in the air. After all, a bus filled with strangers texting and obsessing over their mobile devices is hardly grounds for conversation.
This Is Our Stop, it should be mentioned, isn’t affiliated with TransLink.