Hi, my name is Eli. I'm a designer and (soon-to-be) full-stack developer, and the creator of thrillhop. You can see my background and endeavors on LinkedIn, because I don't frequent other social media. Why? Because I've always wanted to build my own version, and integrate the feedback I get from others into a truly engaging platform. I believe that design can help bring new ideas to the forefront, so I place an emphasis on providing minimal design that inspires others.
I went to Robert Morris University to obtain a Bachelors of Fine Arts with a Concentration in Graphic Design. All the while, I was teaching myself how to build apps, and websites—because who doesn't want to build the things that they design? I didn't get too far into understanding server-side operations, middleware, statefulness, and API development until recently, where I paired up with Nearby Creative to help me with the backend. I couldn't have asked for a better team, of which I'm ecstatic to be apart of.
thrillhop is a mobile app for iOS and Android that lets users find exciting venues in their city, post pictures to these venues and to their friends, and create invitations in less than a minute. We query Google Places for bars, restaurants, night clubs, shops, cafes, etc.—anywhere that might be fun to take a group, or visit by yourself. Venue owners can also create posts, specials, and help drive traffic to their places of business via in-app follows and boosting posts. There are many features considered coals in the fire, which will be released in future updates, but I need help from my community to figure out what's next.
What's the purpose?
I've always thought that a map- and plan-based approach to social media could be a better way to make face-to-face interactions happen, and to figure out what's going on in my city. Planning on when and where to go, and with who, has always been a pain. People that I've talked to use multiple apps to plan events with friends, and have to keep up with communications until that event happens. Facebook Events are useful, but are too formal for casually finding a new spot to dance with friends, or inviting an acquaintance to your local hangout. The purpose is to make our social lives simpler and more organized.
There's another component I discovered through the process of talking with people about this idea. Those with social anxieties may have a tough time engaging with acquaintances or colleagues to forge new friendships. I'd include myself in this group; I'm finding that engaging with others is becoming easier with practice, but it's difficult if there are self-esteem issues blocking progress. With a tool like thrillhop, I think we can break down the barriers of social anxieties by creating a safe space for inviting contacts based on preferences and availability. Maybe this will be the social media tool that actually helps create lasting friendships, since it relies on human interaction to work. Who knows.
I need help getting to 300 beta users for the app prior to launch. If you are interested, know that we will launch in Pittsburgh and add more cities based on the requests of these initial users. There may be bonuses for beta users, such as extra points, or a signifier on your profile to say that you were one of the first people on the platform. You also will have a chance to pick your @handle before anyone else, so it can match your Twitter/Insta handle. In addition, we have a private Slack group where I will occasionally post updates of what we are working on, and poll the group for feedback.
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Too long; didn't read: thrillhop is a mobile app that lets users see what's going on in their city and make plans with friends in under a minute. It will make your social life more structured, and break down barriers to inviting new people out. I need your help to make it the best it can be!