The Learning Lab stage of the Knight-Mozilla “Unlocking Video” challenge has begun. Our submitted idea, Cahoots, is on the front burner here in the office, but we’d love your input throughout this process.
We are going to be publishing weekly blog posts about the experience – what we are learning in the regular webinars and our own process of moving toward a solid, interactive prototype. Get us on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments section on these posts to give feedback and advice. If you are a developer, we would love to work with you on seeing our vision move to the next step.
So, we invite you to join us on this adventure. Aza Raskin, our first Learning Lab lecturer, taught us the importance of asking the right questions – but we need your help. Keeping with the times our design focuses on user interaction and draw from a collective pull of knowledge. Take a look at the design and don’t be shy to weigh in with your own two-cents. Together we can make the journalism industry even more relevant in the digital age.
With that said, let’s explore our idea a bit.
We noticed that video has largely gone unchanged for decades, despite its move to the internet and despite the radical shift in how people consume information taking place via social media. It is still stuck in a box on a screen. But we know the web is now more social than ever. By becoming more social it’s also adding context and perspectives to interactions and content on a scale that just wasn’t possible in the past.
Cahoots will be a social plugin for publishers that will embed videos from a variety of sources like YouTube or Vimeo into a popcorn.js framework. For those of you who haven’t explored popcorn.js yet, go be amazed by the possibilities.
Inspired by the crowd-sourcing movement, Cahoots will incorporate a Wikipedia-like notes section that runs with the embedded video, allowing viewers to comment on specific frames. A user might leave a comment complimenting the videographer on a creative transition, while another might recognize the building in the background and provide the name or address.
Of course there are things to consider that we aren’t sure how to handle. Anonymity is a large issue. Do we force viewers to connect via social networks, or support the 4Chan argument of anonymity for protection?
How do you verify user submitted information? Following our second learning lab with Burt Herman, founder of Storify and Hack/Hackers, it’s nice to know we’re not in this boat alone. Credibility and verification continues to be a challenge for Storify and it’s users. One possible solution for Cahoots would be a user-based rating system for comments similar to that of Reddit and other messaging board sites.
We see some of the problems. Keep your eyes peeled for a (glitchy) prototype in the near future.