Thursday, March 26, 2009

Somerville Journal reports on Give the Gift of Somerville

The Somerville Journal kindly published an article about my little Facebook application this week:

The unique gift of Somerville – now on Facebook
By Auditi Guha
Wicked Local Somerville
Posted Mar 24, 2009 @ 10:24 PM

You know you spend a lot of time on Facebook when you start creating your own applications. Thanks to Somerville resident Laura Slapikoff you can now gift your friends all kinds of Somerville things from the dreaded orange parking ticket to the historic Powder House.

Give the gift of Somerville – a whole new way of sharing the City of Seven Hills with your friends” debuted Sunday and already boasts 185 users. “Wow, I am amazed!” the Spring Hill resident said when she counted it up. “It’s become very popular very quickly.”

There are 44 items available so far from historical landmarks and postcards to the plain wacky – a “suffocating Mary” or a garden statue of the Virgin covered with plastic.

An everyday Facebook user, Slapikoff, 44, came up with the idea because “I thought it would be a cool idea to send people Somerville things and because I know people who live here love Somerville.”

She aired her idea on online community Davis Square LiveJournal and set it up over the weekend with techie help from Dev Purkayastha, another local resident.

But that’s just where it starts. Slapikoff is working on using the application to raise funds for a local non-profit. She plans to approach area businesses interested in being a Facebook gift item to contribute for it and is working with Community Action Agency of Somerville to arrange the fund flow.

“I definitely want more people to use it so we can raise money for a cause,” she said.

Slapikoff grew up in Arlington and moved to Somerville in 1993. “I love that it is such a diverse community and love the support here for local businesses and artists,” she said. An artist, writer, web designer and recent blogger herself, she has embraced online social networks like Facebook and believes they can be used positively.

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