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I run a local motorcycle riding community, and Facebook is killing our forum. Members are becoming more and more "lazy" and once they make a few friends on the forum, they eventually add people to facebook, and then start using facebook to communicate instead. And it's not so much that it's laziness, as it's convenience.
Push notifications I think are the answer to help forums survive, with of course, some "sort" of mobile app. When a user gets tagged in a post (ex: @username), someone replies to their post, when someone quotes them, when they get a private message, etc... it would be fantastic if the mobile user could get a push notification - just like facebook does. And when the user clicks on the notification, they are taken to the appropriate spot within the forum. How powerful would it be for the users phone to be like "HEY! Mike commented on your post! Check it out..." or "Joe quoted you, see what he's got to say!"
I'd be fairly happy with an app that just publishes/uses the mobile version of the website, so long as the push notifications worked correctly. Native iOS/Android development would be cool, but even a Xamarin/Phonegap-esque type app could work.
Some might say, "what about tapatalk"? Well, tapatalk blows.
Like most communities, we're free/not a business/don't make money. I keep things advertiser free, don't charge memberships, etc. My community is built out of passion, and a love for motorcycles. So any development costs have got to come out of my pocket.
Now, I'm a Graphic Designer/UX Architect/Front-end Web Developer and can lend some help to the project, but I never got into mobile app development. I also really, really love my community. So I'm willing to pay to help with development. I'm really tempted trying to hire some mobile app developer in India to help build this, of course, I don't even know where to start to trying to find a trusted mobile app developer... but I know people have done it. Even better, I'd love to pay a developer who's active in the Vanilla community, and familiar with how Vanilla works.
I don't quote know how much I could afford. A couple hundred easily. Maybe more. I might even be able to get some "crowd funding" from my community to help, depending on the costs, how soon we can get it, and how well it'd actually work. Maybe I'll sell a kidney. I dunno. Once a killer mobile app is built, it could be sold white-label style to other Vanilla forums for $300 a pop and you might be able to recover some development costs.
Let's discuss. Let's make something happen. And soon!