A Declaration of Internet Independence: Introducing Lokkal

Description-

Lokkal started six years ago as a comprehensive online event calendar for San Miguel de Allende, Mexico - www.sanmiguelevents.com. It gathers all the events that occur in this ex-pat haven into one list. Having successfully aggregated all events, Lokkal then set its sights on organizing the rest of the community: restaurants, tours, art galleries... The result is a user-generated, searchable, geographically-specific, business-cultural-community-social network, combining the functionality of Google, Facebook, Trip Advisor and more. Now Lokkal is replicating its successful platform in towns and cities around the world.

Lokkal is like:
Facebook in that you can make pages and network;
Google in that it is searchable;
Trip Advisor in that it is a geographically-specific, local directory.

Lokkal is different than Facebook because:
1- it is geographically-specific, organized by towns and cities;
2- it focuses on pages, not profiles; (registered users can make personal profiles on Lokkal);
3- it is easily searchable;
4- people who like your page get your posts;
5- you do not need to have a network (or even to register) to use it, because the whole city is your network.

Lokkal is different than Google because:
it works for local search, you find what you are looking for without combing through mountains of irrelevant results. Make a page; choose tags for your page; then, when users search those tags, your page appears in the results.

Lokkal is different than Trip Advisor because:
1- it is much more inclusive/complete, containing 1000s more searchable categories beyond Trip Advisor's hotels, restaurants, tours, art galleries...; for example, classes, health, motorcycles, music, nail salons...;
2- it is a social network-
a) businesses make their own page, controlling their presentation,
b) businesses are able to communicate with users who have liked their page;
3- it is locally curated.

There is local TV. There is local radio. There are local newspapers. There used to be local yellow pages. Now there is local internet. Lokkal is your local internet channel, digitally representing the life of your community.

Search, The Digital Mall

Facebook is not very searchable. You have to know how to spell the name of the business you are looking for, and maybe be in the same city as it, in order to find it. On Lokkal, without joining or registering, you can search and find all the restaurants or art galleries or shoe stores or chocolate shops or whatever listed in any Lokkal town or city. Lokkal is the digital mall. You'll find things you never knew were here... or there. (See the Search/Find video below.)

Local search on Google does not work. When you Google "restaurants San Miguel de Allende" you want restaurants in San Miguel de Allende, not aggregators or articles. On the first page of Google only 1 out of 10 of the search results are actually restaurants. Visit any Lokkal site, click on restaurants and that's what you get, restaurants. Or refine your search; search "restaurants Chinese, delivery." (On Lokkal, you can also search for articles about restaurants.)

Go to Lokkal. Register in your town or city. Make a page. Choose tags for that page. Then, when anyone (registered or not) searches your town or city for any of the tags you have chosen, your page appears in the search results. If your cafe cares about milkshakes enough to choose the tag "milkshakes," then users who care about milkshakes can find you. There are thousands of tags to choose from, or you can suggest your own. Can you effectively search "pickle Houston" or "luthier Kiev" on Google? No.

People don't want to search. Search is work. They want to find. Lokkal: find, not search.

Menus of search tags are thematically organized, e.g., the Food menu contains the subcategories: Restaurants, Desserts, Drinks, Bars, Types, General. Thematic search menus make it easy to explore.

Thirty years ago the phone book yellow pages were a comprehensive guide to the community. Back then if you were a florist, a plumber or a dentist, you were in the yellow pages. Lokkal is that resource for the digital age.

Social Networking Made Easy

Information sharing online is primitive and inefficient. Current platforms represent early technologies, early attempts. Social networking today is too difficult and time consuming. It's like having to use a hand-crank to start your car or having to go to a record store to buy music.

For businesses today social networking is indispensable, time-intensive and complicated. You need to be an expert or hire one to do it for your business. No one in business has hours each day to maintain an Instagram account, unless their whole business is Instagram. For non-businesses, Facebook pages that are not selling anything, and even for many small businesses, the cost of social networking on Facebook is prohibitive. How many small business can pay $200-300 or even $20-30 per post? Increasingly Facebook wants you to pay for things that were free, like communicating with people who have liked your page and inviting people to attend your event.

Discomfort 20-somethings by having them imagine their grandchild asking them how, when they were young, i.e., now, people knew what was going on in their community. Assume a tottering voice, "Well. we had newspapers." "Were they really paper?" "Oh, yes." "How did they update?" "They printed a new issue each week." "Did they have all the events?" "Oh, no." "Was there anything else?" "We had Facebook." "Did that have all the events?" "Well, you had to have a network." "Oh, Grandma, you're a dinosaur."

But you don't have to go that far ahead. Try answering this question, “Before cellphones how did you make and receive calls when you were out of the house?” Payphones, answering machines and pagers are now all primitive technologies today.

Your children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren will ask, “When you were young how did businesses communicate with their clients? How did communities communicate?” With Lokkal now we can.

Lokkal makes social networking simple, easy and intuitive, so you can do it yourself. On Lokkal when a registered user likes your page they receive your posts, without your having to pay to promote your posts, just like Facebook used to be.

On Lokkal you can join and make a network, but you do not have to join or make a network. Facebook is exclusive, private, closed. Lokkal is inclusive, free, open. When you want your friends and family to know, use Facebook. When you want everyone to know, use Lokkal.

On Lokkal when you like a page you get its posts, just like Facebook used to be. What is important to you comes right to your news feed, your activity page: what's on special, who is playing... every new post from every page you've liked. Likes are meaningless on Facebook; they are just a pat on the back. On Lokkal you will not like a page unless you want to receive information posted by the owner of that page. Find and stay in touch with what interests you, effortlessly.

Beyond Websites

Website are like vinyl records: they give better sound, but in most circumstances they are impossible to use. Building and updating pages on Lokkal is as simple as copy/paste.

Websites are like museum exhibits, behind glass, static. Most never change, so why would anyone visit twice? You can make a website on your own or pay someone to do it, but who will know about it? Your Lokkal page is a dynamic web presence that people can actually find.

In the future, people will not give their website address. They will tell you their Lokkal page number. (The url prefix is the same for all pages in a town or city.)

Your Facebook page has one design: one wall, one type style, zero options. Everything you post goes into one column on top of everything you posted earlier (except for your cover and profile photos and your about information). Your latest post pushes everything farther down that one wall.

Lokkal has five walls, (plus cover and profile photos) giving you many design options. You can exercise your creativity. Post something in the top wall and it stays on the top of your page, unless you decide differently. You can choose the font style and size and color and alignment of the text you use. Bold, italic, underlining, highlighting are all available. Size your photos. Embed videos. And your page is all yours, without messages or ads from others. Full-screen, top to bottom, left to right it's your platform to express your message in your style.

Presentation is Key

Lokkal's search results technology allows the page owner to present clearly and concisely, and allows the user to find and to make decisions based on the the page owner's presentation. The user can scan the search results and see the tags the page owner has chosen to represent their page. Then, the user can click on a page to see more.

Event Calendars

When you post an event on Facebook, you don't just want your friends and family to know, you want the whole community to know. Facebook now severely limits the number of friends you can invite to an event.

Yes, there are other local event calendars, but most all are either incomplete or not user friendly. Here again, the presentation of the information is key. Click on the title of an event to receive more information about the event. Otherwise that information does not get in your way.

Intuitive, Elegant, Intelligent, Creative

Lokkal combines separately existing technologies. Lokkal innovates. Lokkal's presentation and community-centered platform is elegant in its simplicity. Eighty-five year old grandparents understand it perfectly. It is intuitive, simple, elegant, intelligent, creative, foundational. It is happening now.

Mission-

Lokkal is the digital town square for cities around the world. Lokkal is a a user-generated, searchable, geographically-specific, business-cultural-community-social network. Lokkal is your local internet channel, digitally representing the community.

Lokkal is an ethical, free search and networking platform of by and for the community. Lokkal is operated like a public utility, for the people.

Google and Facebook have abused our trust. They have spied, sold our personal information, manipulated posts and search results. Current public knowledge of their abuses is a small fraction of their yet secret misdeeds. They cannot reform themselves, as their business model is based on such misdeeds. They have acted against what is wholesome and necessary for the public good. Google and Facebook are monopolies that are far from free to use. The price we pay is our own exploitation, the diminution of our liberty and the loss of a better future.

It has become necessary for thoughtful internet users to diminish their reliance on internet monopolies and to participate in an ethical, free search and networking platform.

The community creates the platform; the community deserves the profits derived from the platform. Community generated content should benefit the community, the 99%, not the 1%. Like the internet itself, online networking should be in the public domain. 100% of Lokkal's profits are used for the betterment of the local cities, towns and neighborhoods.

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Lokkal is a creative, intuitive, organic, rational, post-capitalist, user-controlled platform in the service of the people and not under the dominance of corporate monopolies. Lokkal is a force of change that nurtures, strengthens and extends community.

Today, with the primacy of the internet, the health of our off-line community is a reflection of the health of our on-line community; our actual community is a reflection of our virtual community; garbage in, garbage out.

There is local TV. There is local radio. There are local newspapers. There used to be local yellow pages. Now there is local internet. Lokkal is your local internet channel, digitally representing the life of your community.

Lokkal is an alternative to the profit-driven internet

Community

Lokkal is the digital town square and the digital town commons.

Online social networks are a new phenomenon, but the social needs they speak to are very old. Social networks, on and off line, however imperfectly, meet our need to belong, for relationship, family and community. Social media absorbs us because it meets our needs as social beings. It provides a sense of belonging and community.

Following Webster's definition of community: on line social networks, "a group of people having a particular characteristic in common," can provide "a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals." But the other, older definition of community, "a group of people living in the same place," provides a more fundamental, tangible, encompassing, multidimensional "feeling of fellowship with others," with more practical results.

Lokkal combines online and off line community. Lokkal is an infrastructure where the community can live through share common perspectives, and joint action in geographical locations.

Engage and create your community. Be a part of it. Belong.

Change the way you communicate. Change the way you find information.

Lokkal changes online privacy and communication. Lokkal is a giant step towards a Digital Bill of Rights... of the community, by the community and for the community.

Social Betterment

When you organize the internet around a search algorithm, you get Google.
When you organize the internet around friends and family, you get Facebook.
When you organize the internet around neighborhoods and communities, you get better neighborhoods and communities, you get Lokkal.

A search algorithm cannot work as well as community crowd sourcing.
Thank you Google technicians, but we will present our own community to the world.

Planetary Consciousness

Lokkal is a global network of local networks, linking towns and cities around the world.

Lokkal actualizes the promise and potential of the worldwide web. The internet is the brain of the world. Until now it has been a very chaotic brain. Lokkal organizes the internet on an intuitive basis, by location, by towns and cities. Sharing knowledge, educating, actualizing the promise and potential of the worldwide web, Lokkal provides a local matrix around which community-based content crystallizes and flows around the neighborhood and around the world.

Lokkal facilitates inter-community communication and cross-pollination. You can see and learn from what other communities are doing. Read what is being blogged in Damascus. Check out what movies are playing in Shanghai. Do anthropological research by studying, for example, the catering practices in Southeast Asia.

It is a geographically-specific search platform allowing local people to present their community to the world, as opposed to the distorted results of existing search engines.

Lokkal provides the edification of travel, without the airplane (or the price tag or the carbon footprint). Ignorance keeps us apart. Knowledge draws us together.

Lokkal is a disruptive technology that will go a long way to saving the planet. Think local; feel planetary.

The first photo of the Earth in its entirety, floating in space, sent back from the Apollo spacecraft, was a hugely transformative cultural moment. The "Big Blue Marble" or "Spaceship Earth" was a giant leap for human-kind. We were aware of the planet. We could feel being all together on the Earth. That's planetary consciousness. Lokkal goes further than any photograph can, providing us with an interactive experience of global unity.

The video Where the Hell is Matt features an amiable fellow dancing in various styles in various locations around the world. The background music is uplifting. The scene changes every five or six seconds. When it is over (and you get over your outrage at how much carbon he uses to make a new video each year) you can feel the planet. You feel planetary.

Beyond still photography, beyond videos, Lokkal is an interactive experience of planetary consciousness. People don't need to meditate to grasp world unity; on Lokkal they can see the planet. People don't need to intellectually learn about oneness; they can understand through a direct experience. People don't need mind-altering substances; the interconnectedness of all things is apparent on their digital device. Lokkal is a hands-on experience of global unity. Lokkal is digital global unity. Consciousness is evolving. The only hope for this planet is planetary consciousness. With Lokkal, our imagination of planetary consciousness becomes a reality.

Family and Community

This planetary consciousness is based on family and community, belonging, being a part of the whole. Family and community is the answer to many of the difficult questions our societies are facing: How do you educate children? Family and community; How do you develop a sustainable economy? Family and community; How do you prevent crime? Family and community; What gives meaning to life? Family and community.

The question is, to whom are you relating? Who are your relatives? Lokkal gives you more options in this regard, broadening, strengthening, nurturing family and community.