Zone in on somebody

Just when we thought that the web had covered every form of communication-e-mail, fax, phone, video-along comes a new use of the technology. This time it’s ‘zonagraphic’ messaging. It’s a fancy new name for an old form of communication.

Suppose you spot someone while holiday shopping who made your heart skip a beat, but don’t know how to reach him or her? Or you have news you’d like to get out to the community, such as where to drop off donated holiday toys?

Welcome to the online version of ‘I Saw U’ newspaper features, a system that delivers a message to a space or ‘zon’ rather than a person. Launched in late November, this web site lets people communicate safely and anonymously. If you liked the movie ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, you’ll love zonagraphic messaging.

You can post a public message, or ‘zonagram’ free of charge, targeted toward a specific ‘zon’ or region. In your message, you state the location you are referring to (mall, street, store, etc.). You can receive a response without revealing your e-mail address, much like the anonymous newspaper ads used in romantic movies, or general delivery.

World wide potential
Here’s aexample recently posted on the site: “I’ve lost touch with an old and dear friend named Leo who owned a store in Toronto called Veronica’s Attic. He paints religious artwork and has a country house in Killaloe, Que. Anyone knows him please e-mail me! Thanks. The Shadow”

In effect, the new site gives an e-mail address to every place on the planet, and allows people to send messages to that place. While many web-based activities are criticized for discouraging personal interaction, the site actually encourages people to connect with others in their own community.

The website also includes Crime Seen, a neighbourhood watch-type crime-fighting feature, and How’s My Driving?, a way to communicate with other drivers. Other topic sections include Announcements, For Sale, Lost & Found, Missing Persons and My Opinion.