The Speed of Social Media Communities

Perhaps my favorite social media community can be solely accessed via an app on my smartphone. It is a purely functional platform, and despite the fact that you can connect the service to other social media sites, it is essentially an anti-social social media. Unlike traditional social media outlets, personal information is never relayed from user to user, and in fact, would be totally inappropriate and unnecessary. The only types of information shared, is generally limited to a geographic coordinate and the nature of the “hazard” waiting there for me. In other words, the community of Trapster users is joined together with the single intention of providing real-time information on police speed traps and red light cameras to drivers.

Trapster is a purely task oriented community and avoids the complexities of most other social media sites. It does not perform many functions, but what it does do, it does well. It is easy to use and access, versatile in a range of different locations, and most importantly, highly beneficial (especially if you have a lead foot like me). The app is also quite next generational as it has been compared to “a modern equivalent of flashing your headlights” or the use of CB radios, once popularized in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, and has been hailed on many “top app’s” lists across the web.

Trapster has become one of my communities of choice, mostly for its sheer usefulness. At the end of the day, participation in this specific social community offers me an advantage over not being digitally connected with other fellow drivers. The community stresses a shared sense of purpose, and its entire functionality depends on everyone stepping up and being a leader by providing constant feedback on the reality of road conditions. And by making feedback easy, there is no reason not to “flash your high beams”!

The only negatives about Trapster are that its strengths rely on internet access and a tech-savvy population, which is often concentrated in urban environments. This is great, until you realize that there’s often too much traffic in town to let your motor unwind anyways, and once you hit that empty freeway outside of town, not everyone is driving with one hand on the wheel and one hand on the iPhone. It wouldn’t hurt to supplement Trapster and still drive using old-fashioned awareness…


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