Future of unicycling discussion

It’s been pointed out how much of the street and flat unicycling conversation has moved to Facebook. So why is a social environment better for this discussion?

-The ability for content to go viral.
-It is where you already are.
-More personal.

Social is the next step in the progression of online communities. Email lists, online bulletin boards and usenet newsgroups have evolved into forums like this. What’s the next step? People like sharing on Facebook, but Facebook is not very good for the group interaction.

The only solution to this is become friends with every unicyclist on Facebook. I have hundreds of unicycle friends on Facebook…so I get to see all the discussion but I also see personal updates from people I don’t know often in languages I don’t know, there should be a better solution.

I am working on a project called Hyphos, which is an interest + location based platform. Instead of being tied to people like you would be on Facebook, twitter or Google+, you join groups that align with your interests. Content is filtered by location so you can see what’s going on with what you care about where you are, or anywhere/everywhere else.

This solves a few problems. If you’re going on a trip and want to meet up with unicyclists there, instead of posting to the forums “Any unicyclists in ____?” on Hyphos you’d be able to view unicycling posts in any location and post there. This makes it easier for local groups to stay connected.

Once you’ve added all your interests, you’ll get a feed of all the most relevant information you care about, locally and globally. The main motivation behind the site is social discovery-- meeting like-minded people near you and discovering new interests.

We haven’t launched yet, but check out the landing page, watch the video and let me know what you think!


So this thread is more about the future of Unicycling Discussion rather than about the future of unicycling. :slight_smile: Sounds like a fascinating idea. Will the end result be tied in to Facebook? If not, its main problem might be that it’s an entirely separate community. The biggest obstacle could be getting people interested in using it instead of, or as a supplement to, Facebook.

Reminder: Not everybody uses Facebook either, though that type of Web communication might be the wave of the future…

jfyi u can create friendlists on Facebook. So u can have one list just for unicyclists and another for ur local normal friends. Depending on which list u r selecting ur newsfeed will only show statusupdates of listed people.

Anyway, i gotta agree with John. Could be difficult to establish such a platform. But who knows…

Thats exactly how we do it in the German Forum. A lot of Citys have their own threads
e.g. Outdoor-Termine Berlin
thats where we discuss all of our meetings and if someone from out of town is coming he just answers in this particular Berlin-thread.

BBoy.org Forum has its own Sub-Forum just for that http://www.bboy.org/forums/hook-up/

That’s right :stuck_out_tongue:

It won’t be tied in with Facebook except for the option to Facebook connect (so we could find out your interests instantly instead of making you choose them all).

The goal isn’t to replace what is already out there, Facebook would still be where you’d go to see which of your friends are in relationships and what they had for breakfast. It is all about picking the appropriate audience, if you want to show your personal friends your unicycle video then facebook would be the way to go, if you want to show people who care about the content that you’re sharing then you may pick another network.

It’s true that getting people using it is the hardest part so we’ve put a lot of thought into that. We won’t just launch to the world and hope it starts catching on. We’re first launching to just UCLA, it would be helpful for new students to find where they belong. There could be someone living a floor above you in your dorm who likes all the same things you do but you’d probably never meet them (this happened to me but the giant unicycle in the elevator gave it away).

Right, that is how I have my Facebook set up. The issue is you’re still in a closed network, to see a post from them you have to be friends with them. A better way would be to broadcast your message to all the people with that interest.

Unicycling is just be one topic that you could be interested in. Say you’re into unicycling, engineering, skating and music, you’d be able to see posts in those communities in a way that you couldn’t achieve with lists of facebook friends. If you’re only seeing updates from people you’re connected with it isn’t a good setup to meet new people.

That’s cool, but it isn’t scalable. I’m proposing being able to see all the posts about everything you like within any distance of you.

Sounds like a fascinating idea. Will the end result be tied in to Facebook? If not, its main problem might be that it’s an entirely separate community. The biggest obstacle could be getting people interested in using it instead of, or as a supplement to, Facebook.

Reminder: Not everybody uses Facebook either, though that type of Web communication might be the wave of the future…

I agree but maybe we could also change unicyclist.com from a forum to more of a social networking site like facebook but just for unicyclists with the same ideas that Spencer had said.

I agree but maybe we could also change unicyclist.com from a forum to more of a social networking site like facebook but just for unicyclists with the same ideas that Spencer had said.

But then you run into the same problem of having to go to a specific place instead of one place for all your interests. I think Spencer’s site could be really cool as it looks like we can have our uni page and then I can look at my other interests when I want…

Hyphos sounds like a fantastic idea and look very clean from what I’ve seen so far but a drawback for me I see is that if you have an interest that’s uncommon, like unicycling, you probably aren’t going to have many “results” of people for that interest. Maybe you’ll meet someone or a group of people on Hyphos who likes the same music as you, but would you really care to talk to someone about music or meet them? In that situation you’d probably only want to talk when the music group you have a common interest in has a new song. Another thing I noticed is that Hyphos seems it’s oriented for college-aged people. I might be missing some info on how the website’ll work so I might be incorrect in my statements. For example, something I’m not clear on is after you sign up, do you automatically have these friends, and I’m saying that for need of a better word, that share common interests with you or do you add them, like Facebook, because of the common interests? Can you also add friends that are your actual friends but don’t share mutual interests? Forgive me for talking so much, there’re just some things I’m unclear about.

I like the idea in general. But still i see some weaknesses.

Thats true and might be a limitation, but also it is protecting me in a way.
Presently the UniCommunity is not so huge, thats why everybody is cool with eachother.

But lets take the Skateboard Community for example. Its huge, so if im connected with all skateboarders lets say just from my region. No doubt, there will be a lot of spam.
Its a law of nature - the more people the more idiots.

Open Network - a good Idea in small communities like a university or a fringe sport like Uni. But as soon as it gets bigger it will suck. Go visit Bullshido.net a MartialArts Forum, its just not really enjoyable to read there.

Therefor u can see ur Friends Friends and visit a Forum of any Interest u r interested in.

Dont take my words too crucial. Im just sceptical but also i am expectant.

Have a look at this http://community.funsporting.de/ its similar to ur idea, but for extreme/fun sports only(which is the category i would put unicycling in) [its on german]

Spencer, sounds like a really cool idea. I like the idea of having a whole bunch of interest groups on one platform. I used to be on some hammock forums (after I lived in a hammock for a month or so) and every once in a while see some cross pollination between the hammockers and unicyclists and there is definitely more than a couple of us one wheelers on mtbr.

Launching it at the university is probably the way to go. Start with a pre-defined user group then expand from there.

though if it is location based I am unlikely to join, mostly since the population density up here is less than 1 person per square km

If you’re browsing globally you could potentially see more than on unicyclist.com. Also remember you’re looking at stuff people posted, not searching people.

It is easy to find people with just a few things in common, that may start a conversation but alone that is not enough to want to meet or hang out with them. On the other hand if you find out you live near someone who is into extreme sports, making videos, and likes the same music that you do, that could be a good connection.

Well in the beginning we’re launching to universities so the pitch may sound more relevant to college-aged people but there are many cases where it would be useful outside of that. Another big target is people who graduate from college, move to a new city and want to find people to do something with. In general if you are interested in something then you could get something out of the site.

So on Hyphos you basically don’t have friends. The content you see is based on the communities you’re a part of and not the people you’re attached to. People will be able to “connect” which is like favoriting a person and you could see what they’re up to. To make it easier to meet cool people we’ll show you visually how much you have in common with them and that could lead to a connection if you choose.

Good point. In sports like skateboarding Hyphos would make it possible to interact with smaller groups than you would otherwise. If you browse globally you could see the best stuff from around the world, or you could browse within your own town which would have more of a community feel.

We look forward to having the issue of too many people on the site. There are plans to filter busy groups to show the higher quality content based on what is relevant to you, what gets the most feedback, etc. This is an issue with popular activities in general but I think this is a step in the right direction as far as making a huge group manageable to interact with.

Not at all, I appreciate the feedback!

That just means you’ll want to browse everything at a greater distance from you. You could see all Canada, North America or the world. Browsing at a local level only makes sense if you live near people :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the comments so far, keep them coming :slight_smile:

It seem to me like you guys are relating this idea to closely to Facebook. it seemed more to me like a tool that could be used for conversing with people that then could become Facebook friends.

Personally I think it would be great just to know what other unicyclists are doing just in my state… or within 100 miles of me. or see what recent mountain biking events are happening in my town that I am missing out on.

The only real fear I have of this idea is the possibility of it wiping out the forums. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think this is a great project! I think it might even be more useful to me than facebook or google+. Most of my facebook friends don’t share any of my interests, and most of the people who have the same interests as me, I have never met. Hyphos, to me, sounds much different than facebook which does a good job at connecting people, but not so good at connecting interests. I am very excited to try this out!

I was reading your privacy policy and I had a concern about this:


I am ok with letting the world know what city I live in. But I wouldn’t want my exact location made public every time I use Hyphos. Would there be a way to disable this feature?

Yeah, we wouldn’t show anything more specific than your city by default, you can also override any location setting. If you go to the site from a computer we actually can’t detect your specific location.

Yeah I guess thats true when you put it that way.

The idea looks interesting. From user point of view it would be great if it was integrated with some existing site. Otherwise we’ll have one more site to visit and check what’s going on. Sure that you’d prefer having it as your own site as an owner. That’s probably good start anyway.
Make sure that interface is intuituve and you don’t need to input too much to start using it. The filters will be the key here I think.

This is gonna be awesome! Spencer Hochberg, you are seriously a pro boss

Interessting topic. I have spent some thought on this, because I’m running unicycle.tv and einradfahren.de. So people have already asked for a forums over on unicycle.tv though Olaf and me have declined this so far. Unicyclist.com has been grown into a place for unicyclist to meet online and we don’t want to split the community with another forums. There is a forum on einradfahren.de too but everybody is hanging out here on the german subforums. And of course with Facebook we have another communication channel. Obviously many (elder) people in the german forums feel unwell about conversation that are been picked up in the forums but started in facebook. Spencer’s ideas about localised communication is new to me but I can definitely see an advantage in that, obviously that is not common for us german people. Thus the challenge for a good conversation plattform is huge and difficult.
Meanwhile, the web has changed from hyperlinks to APIs. So, we can use e.g. twitters technic from third party website through APIs. What’s possible is to upgrade this forums because in the update there is an API version available and then can build different services around that.

I like the idea. Facebook is anoying because you have a million friends and if you want to read the interesting status updates you have to spent all day there.



I think this is a good idea. In particular I like the concept of tying the discussion by geographic location because it links talking about something with actually doing something.

In a way it’s not about whether you can do this on Facebook or not; rather whether it’s easy/obvious. E.g. Google+ puts separating friends into circles front and centre; it’s not as obvious on Facebook. Hence easier to do on Google+

Caveat: with such a small community as unicycling the only thing I wonder about is fragmentation of the community amongst multiple social networks. Finding ways to minimize that fragmentation would be worthwhile.