The first week of the Knight-Mozilla Learning Lab

As I mentioned earlier, I was invited to participate in the Knight-Mozilla Learning Lab. Part of our studies over the 4-week course includes blogging about the talks and other activities.
This first week was exciting because two of the talks focused a lot on one of my favorite activities: prototyping and iterative building.
Aza Raskin’s talk was really focused on prototyping an idea. He told people to make a prototype in a day, and talked about how Nintendo folks used a piece of wood to represent the Wii controller as they were working on the idea. So I decided to work up a prototype of the project I submitted in applying to the Lab.
The image above is a really rough and nasty mockup of how the project could work. It looks like Google+ right? It kinda looks like Facebook or Twitter. The idea is that people can really easily follow and contribute to a news beat. It might be a news event like a protest, fire, music show, etc., or it might be a project about a specific neighborhood.
It would be a way of creating unique nodes of content that are strongly focused on a specific topic that users can follow the way we follow people on social media sites.
This idea is based in part on the discussion surrounding the Future of Context panel at SXSW, the writings of Jay Rosen, Clay Shirky, and our fellow #moznewslab bud Stijn Debrouwere.
I’ve been mulling over these ideas for as long as they’ve been circulating on the web, but I’ve been slow to build the application of which I’ve been dreaming.In Bert Herman’s talk this week he said: “just build it.”
It’s like Nike’s slogan paraphrased into something slightly more inspiring and certainly less commercial.
So that’ll be my goal for these next few weeks. Just build it.


  1. sethvincent posted this