New app serves as a digital bulletin board for students (and it’s made by a UMUC alumnus, too)

Look out, Facebook and Twitter, there’s a new social networking app in town, brought to you by UMUC alumnus U.S. Marines Master Sgt. Dan Williams.

The Gabbaga iPhone app serves as a digital bulletin board, where users can post bulletins about local events, organize meetings and create personal advertisements. Users can also set a physical radius they can broadcast their bulletin board to, from a quarter mile to up to 500 miles.

Need to borrow someone’s notes from a class you missed? Want to find out who else is studying for the big econ exam in McKeldin? Williams said Gabbaga can help solve both of these problems.

“It’s a great way for students to exchange books and find things they need from other students around campus,” he said.

Given his military background, Williams wanted users to maintain anonymity when using the app, which generates a random user ID every time the user checks in and deletes posts once the user logs out. The app is also only for users 18 and older, he added — he wants Gabbaga to be used as a business networking tool rather than a toy.

“I’d really like it to help out small businesses and musicians who could use it as a way to advertise their name for free,” said Williams.

Williams said the idea for Gabbaga came one winter after his grandmother, who doesn’t use Facebook, found she couldn’t find anyone to shovel her walkway. Since physical bulletin boards have fallen by the wayside, Williams decided users could try posting announcements in the digital realm.

He began working with an app-developing company, Ten Pearls, in August of 2011, and he and his wife covered all of the costs of development and rights to the app. Gabbaga has already started to garner attention in the Washington area and is reportedly being used by spa technicians — when clients cancel a session, spa techs use Gabbaga to advertise half-price spa sessions in order to fill the vacancies.

Apparently the app is doing exactly what Williams intended — connecting people in their communities.

— Brian Harris is a sophomore letters and sciences major and student blogger for The Diamondback

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