'Wish and dish' online
'Wish and dish' online

QUEENSBURY - Other than the delicate, brown bone tacked to one wall, Conor Boyd has a pretty average office.

He's not an archaeologist or anthropologist, but that bone is special to Boyd.

It's a wishbone - an item to be whimsically broken by children for the chance to have their wishes granted.

But not for Boyd.

For this 27-year-old investment and insurance professional from Queensbury, it's an icon - a symbol of his new Web site.

On Thanksgiving, Boyd launched AskWish.com into the virtual world and introduced a whole new lingo to Internet users everywhere.

AskWish.com is based on the principles of "wishing and dishing," and is designed to encourage people to help one another.

Boyd explained how it works: site users can either wish or dish, or both. That is, they can wish for something they would like or need, or they can grant the wish of someone else by dishing.

"We all have things we're passionate about or want to experience," Boyd said, adjusting his baseball cap. "This giving and receiving - really wishing and dishing - has gone on since the beginning of time. This is just a system to make it easier. And if you can give the way you want to give, on the time frame you want, it becomes more likely that you're going to give."

Danelle Dessaint of Argyle is proof positive of this.

It's allowed her and her fiance to give to other people in a way they haven't before.

"We put a dish out on kayaking in the Adirondacks," the 31-year-old said. "We can offer someone an opportunity to go to the Adirondacks for kayaking or fishing. We can offer them the chance for their own personal tour guide.

"It's like MySpace, but I think it's better, because you get more out of it. It's free, and you meet new people, and you can give someone an experience they might not have."

Dessaint has also posted a wish on AskWish.com that she's thrilled was quickly granted.

"I have a wedding soon, so I wanted to know about people's experiences planning a wedding," she said. "I wished it, and then somebody wrote me back and said, 'You can have this wedding planner. Just give me your address, and I'll send it to you.' "

The book arrived in about a week, Dessaint said.

Marie Congalosi has also had a wish granted by other AskWish users.

Congalosi owns WSI Internet Consulting in Glens Falls and worked with Boyd on AskWish.com. She recently did some Web site work for the Warren/Washington Counties Homeless Youth Coalition.

Wanting to stay involved and continue supporting the organization, she posted the following wish on AskWish.com:

"I am offering 50 wishbones to the first 3 people who are willing to donate a $20 Hannaford Gift Certificate/Gift Card to the Warren Washington Homeless Youth Coalition,

www.hycwaithouse.org," Congalosi wrote. Wishbones are basically the currency of AskWish.com and are designed

to facilitate wishing and dishing.

"These Gift Certificate/Gift Cards will be used to purchase food for the shelter's Christmas Dinner," the message adds.

Two people have granted Congalosi's wish, with one going above and beyond the request that was made.

"There was one individual from Warrensburg - not only did he give the certificate, he said, 'You don't have to give me the 50 wishbones,' " Congalosi said happily.

"The whole platform is, if you do something for someone, you get those wishbones," Congalosi said. "Then you're able to redeem those wishbones for something you want to wish for."

But, Boyd pointed out, wishers and dishers don't have to trade wishbones, and they don't have to pay to get wishbones when they join the site, either.

The site is totally free to individuals, though that is not necessarily the case for businesses.

"I believe, for any great effort, money is always a byproduct," Boyd said. "Companies can wish and dish like you or I, but it's also a form of advertising for them."

As a result, participation in AskWish.com will be on a subscription basis for corporations, he said.

By making the site free for others, however, Boyd hopes to shift the socially acceptable process of being charitable.

"Let's say you kayak all the time, and someone asks you to take a friend. That's just fine," Boyd said. "But if you stand out in the street and say you'll take people, everyone looks at you like you're crazy."

To Boyd, AskWish.com is a chance for someone who has something to give to proclaim it to the world - without looking unstable.

"I've always believed everyone deserves the chance to give or be given to," Boyd said. "This site is the icebreaker to get that started."

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