As part of the programs team at Idealist, I’m interested in obstacles to action—things that stand in our way when we want to do something to make the world a better place.
One obstacle that we all face is that we have an incomplete picture of what the people around us can help us with. The past experiences of the people around us can be a tremendous asset when we’re looking to do good. They might be able to to recommend a volunteer opportunity, or may have worked on projects similar to our own in the past.
But we don’t know they can help us, and they don’t know what we want, so we can’t take advantage of their knowledge.
At the Feast conference in October, I bumped into Adrian Avendano, who co-created an app that tackles this problem head-on. PeopleHunt helps you meet up with people who have the knowledge you’re looking for or would like to learn something from you.
Here’s how it works: You can use the app to import any of your existing Facebook groups, or join one of the open groups that are available—for instance, the “New York Tech Meetup” group. You’ll see a list of all the things people from your groups would be interested in talking about, and can add your own. Choose any topic that you’re interested in, and the app will alert you when that person is nearby, so you can meet.
If the idea of putting yourself out there for anyone to find makes you nervous, you can limit your sharing to a private Facebook group so you control who you meet up with.
This is still a young app, and right now it’s only available for iPhone, but it could turn into a great tool for exploring your network and expanding your knowledge.
Do you have a favorite app for making connections? Share it in the comments.