Hi Friends —
You might have noticed that messageparty.com now points to this blog. We have taken down the old site and are working on a new and improved MP — follow us on Tumblr for updates. If you’d like to grab your data from the old site or have questions for us, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MessageParty is a new way to write reviews and stories about the places you go, all from your phone. Available for iPhone.
Hi Friends —
Hey all - there’s a new version of MP in the app store. A few things to check out:
—We added a button called “me” to make it super easy to see your own posts
—You can now share your messages on Twitter and Facebook directly from the iphone app
—We added a handy walk-through for beginners
—You can now view all nearby messages on a map to see those closest to you
Hope you enjoy the new app. Our goal is to make an excellent blogging product that is truly mobile. If you have feedback we’d love to hear it. Hit us up at email@example.com.
The MP Team
Smartphone growth over the past few years is nothing short of astounding. With this exciting device growth comes all kinds of new opportunities in personal publishing — you can take advantage of previously arduous tasks, like geotagging and incorporating rich media, completely seamlessly. Because of our phones are with us all the time, we can now record our lives in a very different way than we did with regular blogs.
Many people keep travel journals filled with coasters from bars, ticket stubs, short anecdotes from their day. They are blips of what you’re thinking and what you’re seeing at that moment, and together they create a unique narrative. When thinking about MessageParty, we wanted to build something that harnessed exactly this — a way to chronicle your life in a new way from the device that’s with you all the time. It is a product that is mobile first, web second, and we will always think about it that way.
What we have seen from our early users has been really cool to watch — people are writing these amazing urban vignettes that are all sorted by place. This is one of my favorites:
Smartphones are already beginning to change the way we publish and express ourselves digitally, and the shift will be a significant one. “Blogging” is changing - it will soon be almost completely mobile, very here-and-now, and media-rich. We want to incorporate all of these factors into future versions of MessageParty and we are excited to hear your feedback.
What’s most interesting about digital media is how you discover it. There are millions and millions of videos and photos and words and links circulating around the web, yet we only click on a tiny fraction of them in the course of any given day.
New methods for discovering media have changed dramatically over the past few years. I’m not talking about hand-curated sites, which are well-established and have much in common with traditional media (enlightened editor/network/publisher decides what you’re going to consume). These are new methods of consumption that are specific to the digital realm. If I had to categorize it, I would break it down into three phases: phrase as filter, people as filter, and place as filter.
1: Phrase as Filter
This was back before social news and crowdsourced news and Facebook news feed and etc. It was the days where, when you wanted to see a funny video, you typed “funny video” into Google, or even better, you typed bored.com directly into your browser (I <3 u bored.com). If you wanted to learn about botany or surfing or Bali you typed it into Google and that was that. We discovered information through single phrases and search engines. Some search engines were better than others, and you had to know what you were looking for.
2. People as Filter
Trading links has always been commonplace, but now there are services that formalize this process. Turns out people make an excellent filter, and are much better than machines at pointing out things we might enjoy. The great thing about using people as a filter is you don’t always have to know what you’re looking for. These human-filtering services are extremely popular - Reddit, Digg, Twitter, Tumblr, and the Facebook News Feed are a few that come to mind. The sites engage an entire spectrum from “friends” to “strangers” and these different relationships provide different types of filters. Some people prefer Facebook because they know who is seeing their links, while others prefer Twitter because it allows anyone who is interested to consume. It turns out, though, that people can be pretty consistent in their tastes — how does one discover new things?
3. Place as Filter
With the growing ubiquity of location-aware smart phones and geolocation in the browser, the potential for a new kind of filter has grown precipitiously: place.
Think about it — when you walk into a restaurant and there are articles posted on the wall, you read them. And when there’s a plaque on your building that says that Thoreau used to live there and write, that’s meaningful.
We all have a higher level of interest in our immediate surroundings. Such is the power of local news - a fire at some restaurant in Minneapolis is of little interest, but one down the street I care about a whole lot. A video of a high school basketball game is boring, unless it’s from my high school.
These new technologies allow for a complete re-definition of “local media” - it’s not simply a local paper putting their stories online, but incorporating mobile phones and geo-location as a way to facilitate discovery of place-based media (PBM). It is because of the sheer success of people as filter that we need a new, more finite way to filter, as it is increasingly more difficult to sift through the masses to find the bits of content that “hit home” - there are just too many social filters. Just as the smart-phone brought on a map-revolution, where once again we walk around the streets gazing at maps like silly tourists, we will also see a rise in PBM.
So WTF is place-based media?
Place-based media is seeing the post “The Chelsea Hotel, Chubb Rock, and you can never go home again” when you’re in Chelsea, watching “Lazy Sunday” as you stand outside the Magnolia Bakery and reading “Missing the A Train, and Taking the Not-the-Quickest Way” when you’re right by the A train station at 59th st.
I am not arguing that place-based media is a new thing, but rather that new technology will allow for a change in the way this sort of media is produced, organized, curated, and discovered.
So what does this have to do with the new MessageParty? We’ve made a ton of changes since August, and we think place-based media is pretty exciting. The new MP is built around this idea - that location technologies afford a new opportunity for personal expression and discovery. We’re calling it geo-blogging. Street art, billboards, photos, flyers and stories can and should be organized digitally around places.
We’re not trying to re-organize all the content on the web, so much of it is crap anyway - but rather, we’re trying to take interesting stuff and make it discoverable and accessible in a different way. If you’re in NYC, we’d love to hear your thoughts - click here to give us your email for early access.
amanda (march 2011)