My app story is rather interesting. Initially, I began the week using the app Nearby Feed, a program that allows users to pin their location; write a blurb about it; categorize the location as a restaurant, school, store, etc.; share their experiences on Facebook and Twitter, and engage in chats with those close. However, as I went to make my first post on Tuesday afternoon, the software couldn’t locate my phone even though my GPS was enabled. Thinking it was just the service I got on campus, I tried it again Wednesday morning.
The homepage appeared and displayed my location as Nashville, Tennessee. Also, it has an–well–interesting feature that presents photos it thinks the user may be interested in, which, for me, apparently, was photos of nearly naked women. Please note that some photos have been whited out.
Not wanting my information on this defective and sketchy app, I began searching again and came across Lost In Reality (LIR) on Chrome. This app allows users to tag locations on a map, take and upload a feature photo, and compose a post of no more than 1,000 characters to share with other users. As it appears now, it seems I’m the only American using it. I didn’t have the ability to download it, though, as it’s only available for iPhones (I have a Samsung).
For the past week or so, then, I’ve been using a mobile version of the website, taking photos of the campus and community to share with my fellow users, who seemingly all live in Europe. Most posts, however, seem to highlight social or historical events, rather than function as a space for personal narratives.
Unlike other apps I’ve seen, LIR puts considerable restraints on users by limiting the number of images they can include (one) and the number of characters used. This, to me, was rather challenging, as I like to drench my prose in elaborate words and sentences. After thinking about it, though, it seems fair and reasonable as it forces the user to employ direct language that perfectly describes the location and a photo that captures its essence.
In being more blunt on my user experience, the app was relatively easy to use in its online mobile format. I did encounter some issues as I tried to post, though. Before LIR publishes your content, you have to agree that content your uploading is entirely your own. That’s not what I had an issue with. Because the screen size hasn’t been properly configured, there were times when I couldn’t scroll down to affirm the content’s original nature. This led to me having to rewrite a few posts and take several pictures.
For the DTC 101 classroom, I think unpacking this app would work well within my Unit 4, which serves as a conglomerate for the preceding units. I wouldn’t assign it as an extensive project, but ask students to document their weekend or so using LIR. From there, I would ask them to analyze their process of making/curating location-based information, as well the way they approached the composition process for a newly developed online space. Since LIR doesn’t have as much traffic as sites like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, I think their observations will contribute well to the understanding of the ever-changing nature of digital communication.
To sum this all up, I really enjoyed using this program and am excited for its availability to Android users! I think having an app-based platform, as opposed to a web-based one, will work out most of the bugs and frustrations I mentioned earlier. But, all the same, I think this might be the next big thing!