Pickuppal is a very particular virtual community in this era of virtual communities. Many of us belong to at least a couple of the big ones, be they myspace, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. And of course there are others, many companies and organizations have some form of online community they want us to join, in order to get their latest newsblasts first, post our comments, be part of something special and share with our friends. I get that it is easy to think that PickupPal is just that, that it has jumped on the social networking bandwagon. On the surface it means another username and password to remember, another site to bookmark. All the tell-tale signs are there: a friendly website, a cute logo, a new trademarked word to add to your vocabulary so you feel like you are in the know:
“Did you spend all day facebooking?”
“Did you catch @aplusk’s latest tweet?”
“I am pickuppaling to the Dead show tonight!”
But Pickuppal not just about logos and too-cool-for-school expressions, it is about connecting people. ..OK that too is a familiar refrain….I mean connecting with purpose, aka purpose-driven connections if you will - sure sharing high school prom pics, news stories or the latest video gone viral are worthy connections however PickupPal connections help people get somewhere physically, not virtually…from a real point A to real point B and get somewhere environmentally by reducing the impact of their travel on the planet.
The skeptics and the intellectuals and a slew of others think virtual communities may be keeping us from being with real people, living in the real world because we are spending all our time updating our status instead of meeting in the park or going for coffee. That we are accumulating followers while neglecting our real relationships. I don’t agree however I must assert is that you cannot paint all online social networking communities with one brush. PickupPal is building a community online , yes, but it is for people to meet, drive together, save money, reduce emissions, connect for the good of all. And, yes, it is a number’s game for us as it is for the Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter sites of the world. But the numbers we strive for are not for bragging rights but for breathing rights. The more people signed up to rideshare, the better the matches and the more people that double up means fewer cars on the road.
The PickupPal community is particular, and it is particularly challenging to build and grow. Sometimes we click the big “JOIN” button sometimes we don’t, why we do and why we don’t is difficult to gauge - but signing up to PickupPal means doing more than clicking to join and that’s OK, we need to do more - it’s time. We should invite our friends to do more too.
Suesan (Community Relations)