We have become a society that likes to “Like” and share our preferences with everyone we know. Millions of people join all sorts of Facebook groups to show their support for causes or their own interests.
But the sheer size of Facebook and the number of groups available can often result in information overload that we just end up ignoring. We need quicker, simpler, more instantaneous ways of sharing our “likes” and maybe our “dislikes”.
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“Sometimes a Like isn’t enough” according to WeLove.net, a new niche location-based social media site, which also includes a set of mobile applications. WeLove.net is aimed at special interest groups who want to share their love for places and things around South Africa.
At its most basic level, WeLove is about reviewing places. Very few people have the time or are willing to put in the effort to take a picture and write up a review. The excitement of wanting to share something needs to be captured and executed in the moment. The longer you wait, the less likely it is to happen.
WeLove deals with this stumbling block by developing iPhone, Blackberry and Android applications that allow users to upload reviews of new places within seconds. We can do this with Facebook.
“On Facebook your friends are limited, with welove everyone is your friend. Add a place on facebook only you see it, add a place on welove and everyone sees it.”
“If you feel that your sushi looks like a work of art, or your coffee is burnt and you want to share the experience with people, you can do that using our apps, by adding a new place or review with images within seconds,” says Paul Cartmel, WeLove’s creator and owner of Cape Town-based software development company New Media Labs (NML).
WeLove wants to be more than just another review site. Cartmel says the site is building connections between like-minded individuals who are passionate about their hobbies or the places they frequent, such as a favourite restaurant, wine or outdoor activity.
On the site there are currently six categories which can be “loved”:
Galleries, Sushi, South Africa, Surfing, Coffee and Wine. The reason for these six, according to Cartmel, is that “a persons stream in a niche becomes a specific blog, like a coffee, sushi, wine blog, a good place to start and we intend on adding more.”
The most popular page right now is the sushi page which contains reviews and images of some of the best and worst places to find sushi in Cape Town. Other people can “love” or “unlove” a review and comment on the place being reviewed as well.
Cartmel says that WeLove is not “only about sharing your passion and finding people who share the same passion but also about growing and displaying your reputation in a specific field and being rewarded for your reputation and influence”.
The website itself is a pleasure to navigate, though much of the content is predominantly Cape Town-focused. The service is easy to use, you either log in via Facebook or register on the site to begin sharing your love.
How is it different to services like Facebook and Foursquare? According to Cartmel, they are creating something different by localising the site. Unlike Facebook and Foursquare which cater to a global market, WeLove only caters to South Africans reviewing places in South Africa.
“So we believe, based on conversations we are already having with franchise and individual shop/bar/estate owners, we’ll be able to structure rewarding deals with the WeLove asset owners for users who illustrate their reputation/influence within their interest groups,” says Cartmel.
There are plans to monetise the site and the team is busy with deals to facilitate vouchering through the application. They also hope that digital agencies will start using the WeLove JSON(Java Script Object Notation) API cloud services in a “headless” (Flex, Flash and Mobile apps) fashion to facilitate competitions.
The iPhone app is available in the iTunes app store.