Thursday, July 20, 2006

InTheField - open source mobile posting

I'd missed this in MediaShift until pointed it out today. Erik Sundelof, a Reuters Fellow at Stanford is working on software called IntheFieldOnline that allows posting to any Web site you have set up from a mobile phone.

The concept, as Mark Glaser, points out is not new -- moblogging has been around for several years, and we used it successfully in the Wireless Election Connection. But the significance of Sundelof's work (the link above takes you to his sparse homepage, but go here for a sample of the filing possibilities) is that it is open source. That promises tremendous flexibility in a society rapidly converting to mobile. It's something I wish we had for, for instance, but have been unable to set up.

From Glaser's interview with Sundelof:

I started to think about what would be my first thought after a car bomb went off. Certainly not to run to an Internet cafe. That’s probably the last thing I would think about. But I might call my friends with my cell phone to tell them I’m all right. Then you have your phone out, so now the possibility is that you could also record that, shoot it and send it to Reuters, the BBC or wherever. That would be a great tool to really create a vehicle and channel for those people to get their frustration out, that would help the democracy part.

I have been dealing with blogs but never put a category of citizen media on it. I don’t see the need for putting a label on it as ‘citizen media’ — why not just call it media. Because everything else is just called news and it depends on how you present it, how you package it and mash it up.

I've added the emphasis. As noted, many of those major news organizations already are set up to take such submissions. It's the "wherever" that makes this project fascinating. I also like his take on "citizen media."


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