Tracking My Story

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.

App 2

App 3

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.

App 1 censored

 

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).

App 4

App 5App 6

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.

App 8 App 9

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.

App 6.5 App 7

 

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!

3 Comments

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  1. Lacy,
    I’m sorry your first app gave you so much trouble, that would be really frustrating! I wondered about you and how you might find an app because I remembered as I was searching myself that you didn’t have an iPhone, and many of the apps I came across were iPhone/iPad only. This 1,000 character limit is interesting. I still think that’s a generous amount of text for each narrative, but I’m surprised to accompany this they only allow one image. Very cool that you’re participating in an app that primarily is utilized by Europeans, this was a similar experience for me. It would have been cool to see a screenshot of one of your public posts within the site, I’m curious as to how the composition looks once it’s been archived/published. Did you have to register with an email? Is it free? I like the considerations you have for your 101 classroom and I might also ask you to consider a conversation about how this stands against Twitter (since that app is a major interest for you), with the whole character limitation and also image juxtaposition (you can add video now to twitter, can you do this with Lost in Reality?). Either way, very cool app! Thanks for sharing
    Lucy

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  2. I take back the screenshot of your composition, I looked back and saw they were the last two, sorry about that! 🙂

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  3. Lacy,

    I really like that you narrated your “user experience” shifting from one application (Nearby Feed) to another (Lost in Reality), as it offers insights into your own preferences and thresholds with digital storytelling applications. It also highlights the obligation that we as instructors have to sample and, well, use these sorts of mobile applications (and the content that comes with them) before we integrate them into our classes. In terms of the work you’ve done with Lost in Reality, though, I was really intrigued by the distinction that you made between personal and historical narratives, because it raises questions about the ways in which users choose to curate the spaces through which they navigate. Which is to say that users can generally choose or favor particular relationships with these geographical spaces that are or are not tied in any meaningful way to historical context. You start to drive at this idea of curating space when you discuss the prospects for using Lost in Reality in the DTC 101 classroom, but I wonder how you might also integrate a more heavyhanded approach to these historical contexts as well. Throughout my time in the West, and Pullman in particular, I have really agonized over what it means to learn within and navigate around ceded and unceded American Indian land, namely that of the Nez Perce and Palus tribes. Earlier in the semester I tried to imagine possibilities for integrating these contexts as well as conversations between and among personal and historical narratives into a DTC 101 assignment sequence, but I fell a bit short in my efforts. Lost in Reality, however, strikes me as a platform that might serve my interests rather well with this emphasis on curating space. I would ask, then, how you might perhaps integrate these sorts of conversations between personal and historical narratives into the work that you and students do in the DTC 101 classroom? It’s a difficult question to answer and it might be one that leads you into a number of different social, cultural, political, and ethical terrains and discursive spaces, but I feel it could at the very least enrich the way that you frame Lost in Reality for students. Thanks so much for sharing your blog entry! I look forward to hearing more about the pedagogical implications of Lost in Reality in your presentation!

    Mark

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