Moosomin now on Block Talk app
Moosomin Chamber of Commerce
June 24, 2019 6:36 pm
The town of Moosomin, as well as the town of Fleming, RM of Moosomin and Moosomin Lake, can now connect through the use of a new app called Block Talk that is specifically made for communities to stay connected, send safety alerts and other alerts, and let community members follow community events and organizations.
Moosomin Chamber of Commerce members heard a presentation from Michael Murray, owner and founder of Block Talk, at the Chamber meeting last week. Murray explained that, unlike other social media apps like Facebook, Block Talk is specifically tailored to communities that the user chooses to follow, and there are no pages to follow or manage, a user simply sees information posted on the app from the particular communities they are following.
Joining Block Talk was an initiative of the Moosomin Chamber of Commerce.
“Block Talk is re-connecting communities and making people feel safe, and thanks to the Moosomin Chamber of Commerce, the app is now ‘live’ in Moosomin and area, including the towns of Moosomin and Fleming, the RM of Moosomin 121 and Moosomin Lake,” Murray told Chamber members Tuesday.
Murray says he was inspired to start the app when a serious situation took place two blocks from his house in Calgary and he didn’t find out about it until 10 hours later.
“The next victim could have been my family!” he says. “More frustrating, at that time I was volunteering as the president of my local community association, and because the situation took place on a long weekend and on top of that there was a glitch in our systems, it took two days for that email to go out to our community members, and even by then people replied to say thank you, that they had no idea this took place in our community!
“This is when I decided to take action. The world needs a place that allows you to send and receive real-time messages into communities in a format that allows you to control the notifications you receive and allows you to follow the relevant communities in your lives—where you live, where you work, and where you play. That is how Block Talk was born!
“Now, of course, I am not the first company out there to offer real-time messaging. There are neighborhood apps and also a company called Facebook that offers the ability to create and join community groups. However, when including all the other mainstream social media companies that you use to stay informed, they are all overly distracting and noisy. Because of the noise, both safety and community becomes lost. Your neighbourhood should not be noisy!
“A typical Block Talk member follows the communities: where you live, where you work, and where you play, plus neighbouring communities, because crime and communication do not stop at neighbourhood lines.
“Block Talk’s one-stop shop for community allows you to send and receive communication into your community, from a safety situation to a community event, and also includes curated information related to Moosomin and area. This information includes the notifications that the RCMP produces for the area and town information, RM information, community events, etc.
“If Facebook organizes you based on your friends, Linked In organizes you based on your business associates, and Twitter organizes you based on your favorite media source, then Block Talk organizes you based on the communities that you choose to follow.
“How does Block Talk help emergency services such as Police and Fire? Well, they can post into communities and categorize their communication as urgent or non-urgent. Providing this type of categorized and localized communication will be very well received by the public and will increase the likelihood that your communication will actually be received. For police, it gives you an on-line and local presence in the communities you serve—it’s creating a scarecrow affect.
“How does Block Talk help local business? In the future there are plans to add further technologies to enhance the offerings of local business, but for now the platform provides them with a place to advertise and be represented in the communities they so eagerly want to be seen in.
“How does Block Talk help the Town and RM? It brings a sense of safety to your residents and re-connects the community by having a place where all real-time community information is found.
“A win for community and Moosomin and area will be if everyone checks their Block Talk once a day.”
Murray said the company has over 5,000 users to date and is growing everyday. He says it feeds in over 145 different media sources and increasing every week. Originally launched in Calgary, it has now grown to the communities that directly surround Calgary and is also in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, the RM of Whitehead and the town of Alexander, Manitoba, and now Moosomin.
“Your community now has a real-time platform that will re-connect its residents and make them feel safe. Block Talk builds on your community values of constantly looking to improve and re-connect your sense of community,” he said.
There were a number of questions after his presentation.
One person asked if the app allows you to choose the communities you follow and Murray said yes.
“The information in your feed is specific to the communities you follow, but it’s also real-time media and give you an option to post directly into it,” he said. “You can choose the community you want to send it to.”
Murray pointed out that people can also choose what kind of notifications they receive.
Another person asked if someone monitors the app and the material that is posted and Murray he monitors it and users can report posts they don’t approve of.
Lea Warkentin asked if it would be in any other communities in the area, such as Elkhorn and Virden, and Murray said he hoped so and that he had a meeting with Virden that evening about bringing it to their town.
One person asked if those posting on the app remain anonymous our have a username, and Murray said it depended on the type of post.
He said anyone posting a safety alert or non urgent crime remains anonymous so there is no chance of them being threatened by the people per person committing the crime.
Kari Kosier, the owner of Kari’s Kloset, said she was excited to use the app as a way to advertise specifically to people in the local area.
Murray added that the Chamber’s Facebook posts are being fed into the app, and that there would be a discount for Chamber members to advertise on the app.
Bill Thorn asked how to go about expanding the app to other surrounding communities like Rocanville, Wapella, and Maryfield and Murray said it was simply a matter of someone asking him to come into those area. He said it should be easier now that the app is set up for Moosomin.
“All of the heavy lifting has been done, now it’s just adding communities,” he said.
Another person asked if spam is a problem on the app, the way that it can be on Facebook, and Murray said because people aren’t setting up pages and attracting followers, spam usually isn’t an issue, but if something is being posted on the app that is seen as spam, he could remove it.
Chamber secretary Kevin Weedmark added at the end of the presentation that there would be a promotion campaign letting people know the app is up and running and how they can use it.
The app can be downloaded on the App Store or the Google Play Store.
People interested in advertising on the app can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.