Is There An App to Find Other Families?

Smartphones. Googlemaps. Location-detection in web browsers. Seems like there should be a technology-based solution to finding other traveling RV families? There have been. They have all failed. Here’s why.


Smart people have been trying to create a technology-based solution for this issue ever since we got on the road in 2010.

Examples include:

None of these ever became useful. Now there are a couple of new resources attempting to solve the same problem.

We don’t have high hopes for their success.

Why?

No Magic Solution

I’ve had a 20+ year career in tech. Over those years I’ve been involved in a number of failed technology solutions.

They didn’t fail because the tech was bad.

They failed because the users - the everyday you and me people - didn’t behave as expected.

I’ll go out on a limb and say:

There will never be a widely adopted technological solution specifically to help nomadic families to find each other.

Why They Will Fail

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Here’s why these solutions (we’ll just use the high-tech term “the Thingy”) will fail:

  • I don’t want my location updated automatically, all the time, to anyone - not to friends, not to close family, not to any group in a social media tool
  • Which means that when I do want my location known I have to go into the Thingy and do something (check in, update a map, tweet, or post in a forum)
  • Which means that I will forget to do so
  • Which means location data will be out of date
  • Which means the Thingy won’t be useful

We’ll Forget to Update

Why not automatic location updating?

Privacy.

Our life is relatively drama-free. We don’t have ex-spouses or abusive parents that we need to keep our location a secret from. Or young children we’re concerned about exposing to abusers.

But even for us, there are times when we want to be social and times when we don’t. There’s work and schoolwork to be done. We’re on a schedule to get somewhere. Or we’re coming off a week of being social and need to recharge our inner introverts.

We want to choose when we broadcast our location.

So we’d have to remember to update the Thingy with our location. No matter how easy that is we will forget to do it some of the time.

And we won’t be the only ones who forget.

Our Plans Will Change

Any Thingy that lets you specify a location will end up with a “here until” date field.

Works great.

Until you leave early because the weather turned.

Or stayed longer because the next place doesn’t have laundry and all your clothes are dirty.

And once again, you forgot to update the Thingy.

How many times will you try to use the Thingy before giving up because people are never where the Thingy says they are?

If all of the user locations in the Thingy aren’t accurate all the time, it’s no better solution than what we have now.

Still, Some Tools

What do we have now? Read about the tools to find other fulltime RV families.

Are You Creating the Next Thingy?

Are you building the next app to solve this problem? If so, how will you address the issues we’ve listed above?

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1 Comment Is There An App to Find Other Families?

  1. Picture of behanbehanFebruary 14, 2017

    Really, really good points in your analysis. We struggle with this as full-time travelers (water borne!) too. Our preferred tool for years is Farkwar. What’s critical is that it’s easy to use and requires only a text message (so we’re more likely to update it). It also makes a pretty map that updates on my website (or auto posts to FB or Twitter if I want), and my friends/family can subscribe directly.  Recommend! Check out our Farkwar map at the bottom of every page on sailingtotem.com.

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