A first post demands an introduction. Here it is: My name is Peter Meng and I am not a journalist - in fact I have never worked for any kind of journalism based organization. I am, however, a two-faced geek - tech and marketing. I love both and I'm hoping to blend these two loves to test an idea I've been playing with for a while. My Fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute provides the perfect platform for researching, building, testing, and validating this idea.
My project is based on a problem that's been annoying me for a long time. As an active buyer and seller of services and used stuff on the net, I'm not able to easily promote the things I have for sale or find the things I'm looking for. Instead I have to: wade through Craigslist and sea of smaller classified sites, set-up RSS feeds (a royal pain), use multiple search engines, post "for sale" tweets, scour "TweetDeck," post eBay ads, and sometimes pay ridiculous advertising or membership fees.
I'm thinking there might be a better way.
This leads to the questions my idea is based on: Can a system be created that uses both the traditional and social parts of the Internet to find or sell goods and services, and have the results be delivered to me in "real-time"? And can I do all of this from one simple location that's easy to find (my local newspaper's online classifieds?), that benefits my [physical!] community, and costs very little to use?
There's really only one way to determine the answer. Build it and test it. And that's what I plan on doing in the next ten months.
I call my project (and maybe the final product?) AdFreeq, because the name implies what I hope to do with this project - to provide a way to frequently post and distribute free and low cost classified ads. And we'll do this by using mobile and social tools in a unique and hopefully fun way. I also aim to make money with this project and prove that this type of service can be used by your media company to recover the revenues they've lost to other services using new technologies. If we're successful they can channel their new found revenues into higher quality news products for you.
In the coming weeks I'll be posting my progress and also asking for your help. I'm going to post a question that pertains to the part of the problem I'm working on that week. I'd appreciate your feedback in any form - from a detailed discussion to a yes or no. Anything will help. The following week I'll attempt to answer what I learned from you and from my research and activities. Should be informative, maybe educational, and I hope, interesting.
So let's start with the first question. How do YOU define "real-time"? Examples would be helpful!
I look forward to your freeqin' awesome insights.