With the rise of social networks and applications like FaceTime, I assumed that the need for telephone hotlines had almost become non-existent. Apparently I was incorrect in my assumption, because  I just recently saw a tweet by Jon Kolko about community-powered hotlines called Pocket Hotline. It is a collection of community-powered help lines about a variety of topics. Anyone can choose a topic, recruit like-minded volunteers and publicize their availability to answer calls. For callers, it is free to call, but the site requests that if you appreciated the help you received then you should leave a "tip" in the tip jar, which buys minutes for the hotline to run. Some of the hotlines include: baking, letterpress, and Photoshop. Each line has a custom webpage to tells those that are interested what the phone number is, a little description of the hotline, whether there is a volunteer on call at that time and if there are minutes available to use the hotline.

Traditionally, I have always associated hotline with crisis, emergency or suicide. I really enjoy how this group has turned the idea of emergency telephone counseling into a new medium for knowledge sharing on specific topics. In addition, the concept of community-funded service has received a lot of attention lately and with the success of Kickstarter and other microfinancing platforms I feel like the Pocket Hotline's use of donations will help to bring success and possibly profit.

Now I just have to figure out what type of hotline I can start...

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