Business & Real Estate

A new kind of social community platform

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Courtesy of Jenny Huang
R Community co-founders Kevin Arnold, left, and Scott Plautz developed a social media platform that aims to build community via curated content delivered to smartphones.

Some of us grew up watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” That was the good old times, when we knew our neighbors and what was happening around our town.

Times have changed. This sense of hyper-local connection has diminished over the years as we get more digitally connected via social media and the internet. The irony is that despite being connected with others on social media, some of us feel lonelier than ever because we are not connected in local communities where we live, work or play.

Game changer

R Community, a startup based in Los Gatos, wants to change that. Its team has developed a new kind of social community platform, whereby local municipalities, organizations, businesses and consumers can connect and experience everything local, accessible in one platform, with the ability to quickly locate relevant information in a simple directory.

R Community is led by two technology veterans and community leaders, Scott Plautz and Kevin Arnold, whose combined sales and marketing, management, UX design and engineering background is paving the way in building a great social community platform that facilitates access to connections, relevant and curated content, and affinity among local communities.

“R Community is different than other social media platforms because we truly believe that having a strong sense of community helps us thrive, leading happier and healthier lives,” Plautz said. “The platform starts from a personal level, building around your interests and preferences. It pushes feeds to you based on content and business categories that you want to hear from and interact with.”

R Community delivers curated content conveniently to your phone and puts you in control of what you want to receive. It provides easy access to information from a centralized place. For example, if you like to shop with a particular vendor in town, you can select alerts on events, deals and promotions as they become available. Posts from organizations and businesses that you follow can be referenced to help you find them easily and quickly, instead of searching for them in a sea of other posts that may not be of interest to you, such as feed overloads in Facebook and Nextdoor.

“Businesses and organizations benefit from R Community’s platform because people who want to engage with your business can find you by category, location or ZIP code, not limited by boundaries such as what you may have experienced being part of Nextdoor’s private social network,” Plautz said. “People can ‘like’ and ‘follow’ your business’ profile or promotions and socially connect with the business owner or manager in a private social dialog. There are no rankings based on algorithms like those of Yelp, which are impossible to verify and often questionable. You can manage your customer experience and reputation the way you want it, without being weighed down by social discord and negative diatribes that could potentially hurt your business.”

Expanding access

R Community offers users greater access to an ecosystem with the inclusion of local government, Chambers of Commerce, libraries, recreation centers, churches, museums and more, all of which contribute to the rich culture and experiences that make each city unique.

Cities, organizations and businesses can support each other easily and will become more interconnected as a result. According to Plautz, the net effect means everyone benefits from having more user exposure to their community’s great assets, building relationships and affinity that would result in more revenue generated for local communities, organizations and businesses.

R Community did a soft product launch in May, and has plans to engage its next phase of users in Los Altos, Mountain View and other greater surrounding areas. The app is currently available on Apple’s App Store, with a mobile-friendly web interface coming this fall.

For more information on R Community, visit r.community.

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