Small towns across America are facing serious challenges to their long-term future, but a pilot project in West Virginia is giving them hope that help is just a tap or a swipe of a smartphone away. Mobile Main Street, an open source application developed by West Virginia University, is providing merchants in Davis, WV, the opportunity to market themselves and their goods to current and prospective customers like never before.
WV Mobile Main Street App
Davis is one of five West Virginia communities involved in various stages of the initiative, which is designed to let them harness the power of wireless technology to better engage mobile consumers and effectively use social media platforms to create closer connections with them. Mobile Main Street bills itself as a ‘nonprofit project to pioneer multi-partner, community-based mobile media’. It’s proving to help rural towns explore new economic models for media by utilizing a ‘networked, hyper-local publishing system using all mobile tools.’
The beauty of the initiative is its multiple benefits. Mobile Main Street provides a user-friendly entry point for small businesses and media groups into mobile communication, fosters the creation of local mobile networks, and ultimately inspires economic development in an area that finds itself challenged by its location or socioeconomic situation. Community media, newspapers and bloggers, chambers of commerce, local entertainers, visitor and tourism centers, and small businesses are among the many potential beneficiaries of the project, which is proving how valuable wireless technology can be in rural areas all over the country.