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  • Michael Freed

Smart Cities Should Be Concerned About Loneliness - Maka Social Can Help

Before anyone had ever heard of Covid, our Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, warned the world of a silent epidemic. This is a condition that makes us 50% more likely to die prematurely, causes more physical health problems than smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and affects between 20 and 33% of American adults. It is a leading cause of anxiety, depression, and even substance abuse. I’m talking about loneliness. In a world where we are more than ever surrounded by people, it cannot be blamed on isolation.



Social Anxiety ranging from crippling panic attacks to the general discomfort more commonly thought of as shyness at the thought of talking to strangers is a big contributor to the problem and now affects more than half of the adults in the US.


The fleeting nature of human contact in urban and large suburban communities where we may only have a few moments to interact and make an impression on those who cross our paths before we never see them again is another. The familiarity through constant contact that our ancestors in small tribes and villages enjoyed is no longer an option for many of us.

Maka Social is an app designed to address these problems and several others I don’t have time to mention to make it easy for us to have a real meaningful conversation with real people, face to face in the real world and in record time.


In participating locations, we can show you who is receptive to meeting someone new by who is logged in to the app. With a brief profile, we can show you what conversation topics matter to them. Together, this addresses the fear of rejection or just the fear of being a bother that often prevents us from reaching out. It also skips the small talk or not knowing what to say that can also be scary for the shy, or just an unproductive time waster even for the socially confident.


Our Alpha tests have blown us away resulting in easy human connections and passionate conversation right from the start and even enfold nearly one surrounding non-app user for every one person actually in the app as they are drawn in by the increased energy level.


Loneliness is a big problem on college campuses where students have been ripped away from their high school social networks and families for the first time and contribute to 40% of all dropout decisions. It is even more urgent in the military as service members and their families can be reassigned or deployed several times over the course of a career and must reboot their social lives.

A more connected community has greater benefits than just public health. Socially connected neighborhoods look out for each other, reducing crime. Citizens are more likely to volunteer for causes and make their voices heard at the ballot box when it affects someone they know. Social Media allows us to create echo chambers reinforcing us against their politics instead of compromise while encounters in the real world can instead show us how much we have in common. As Dr. Brene Brown said, “People are harder to hate, close up.”


We’ve prepared a commercial version for parties and bars, but these aren’t the only places where people have an opportunity to meet. Dog parks, playgrounds, public transit, community centers, libraries, and even the DMV waiting room are all viable places for people to meet and these are all government-owned properties.


Like any other startup, Maka Social is looking for investment, but we’re also looking for community and military partners to partner with us for pilot trials to figure out the best locations and tactics to get people using the app as well as academics to help us conduct controlled experiments to document how well our process really works.

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