Robert Hernandez takes an interesting look at two new web tools over on the Online Journalism Review website, offering his thoughts on how new social media technologies could be used by the news industry for ‘real-world’ user engagement.
The first tool, Whrrl, collects images and notes and groups them geographically, enabling an individual to share and view their activities on a map. Hernandez discusses its basic use, to share for example the experience of a birthday with those who could not be there in person. Now swap the word ‘birthday’ to ‘election’, he says.
Reporters and citizens are posting their experiences — comments, photos, videos, etc. — at polling sites, leaving a virtual marker filled with content for others to add or re-live. This would also work for a sporting event, a protest/rally or any news event where people gather in one location. Collectively, we can capture the moment in real-time with rich multimedia. This doesn’t replace the article or video piece, but can really enhance them.
The second tool is stickybits, which is a way of attaching digital content to everyday objects using a sticker barcode which when scanned with a smartphone reveals the experiences of those who have already used the technology there.
Imagine going to a polling place where people can scan a sticker to read or leave messages. The only way to get that unique experience from that polling place is to be at that location.
From news to reviews, we could possibly embed our stories on anything and anywhere. And, more importantly, we can get user engagement. We’re not talking about from behind a computer, we’re talking about out in real life.