There are lots of reasons to be reflective today and to think about the past year. It has been a very serious time with some very serious human stories resulting in many testing questions about fate and destiny and our responsibilities in a civil society.
I intended to write some sort of happy-clappy “what a great year!” type of message today, but I’d prefer to write about the challenges ahead.
Of course, it has been a truly amazing year for n0tice. We moved the service out of beta in the Spring, launched a robust developer platform, rolled out our first sponsored partnership, kicked off an exciting social marketing campaign, rebuilt the n0tice iOS app, launched our new Android app, developed some fun new curation tools, and integrated with the Guardian in some creative ways.
The team, everyone participating on the platform, and the many observers wanting to know how this project unfolds will surely feel the progress we’ve made and hopefully enjoy being part of this journey.
But n0tice is still very far from playing the role it could and should play in the world.
There are many forces challenging the civic fabric that keeps people engaged in the idea of progress. This is happening both in our local communities and the world at large – threats to the shape of the Internet itself, how it is governed and what people can do with it; deep issues of trust in our institutions; economic disparity and shrinking resources; and, worst of all, physical threats both from mother nature and our own kind.
On an admittedly hopeful and probably shallow level I always thought that n0tice could help people to address problems that face us by becoming a more integral part of the spaces we inhabit. Starting with a shared digital platform for reporting what’s happening nearby right now and what’s going to happen tomorrow we could improve local discourse which could then turn into action.
The public noticeboard is the perfect metaphor for what we’re doing. It facilitates a public conversation about our local communities – a space that is open to all, where leadership is flattened and authority is distributed and perhaps even competitive.
The technologies making this possible have pros and cons, of course.
There can be no doubt that being present and aware in the physical world we inhabit will get harder and harder as the digital distractions continue to fight for our focus. It’s also true that the immediacy of today’s digital media is training people to think that everything can happen fast, but sometimes meaning has a longer gestation period which affects cultural evolution at glacial pace.
There’s a big gap between noticing a dangerous street corner to getting a new sign posted which is a far cry from changing the law and even further from changing people’s behaviors.
But maybe these new technologies can enhance our experiences in the real world rather than compete with them. And maybe our local communities will improve as a result of what people accomplish using the digital network.
Sometimes a spark is all that’s needed to put momentum behind a movement.
When we kicked off the #keepcycling campaign we had a feeling it would resonate, but we certainly didn’t expect people to spread it across Twitter as far as it has gone now. Similarly, we were hoping the #localshopping and #gdngig campaigns would trigger an interest in sharing the best of people’s local experiences, and, sure enough, hundreds of reviews and photos later we have some wonderful social maps of what’s happening in small neighborhoods and big cities alike.
#GdnGig Live Music Map
These are just little tastes of where this journey could start going – turning observation into action. Awareness is the first step toward empathy. And once people start to care about the little things happening around them they might think more about the bigger things.
n0tice may not be able to put fate and destiny back into our own hands. The world is full of surprises – both horror and magic. But we can certainly progress as individuals and as communities by democratizing information about the spaces we inhabit and making that information actionable.
n0tice has had a great year. The n0tice team – Daniel, Sarah and Tony – have been brilliant – creative, hard-working, thoughtful, collaborative, skillful, etc. The n0tice community has been incredibly helpful in steering us and telling us openly and honestly what they think. Our partners have been invaluable as we evolve the tools and strategy – Talk About Local, LBi, Mentally Friendly, Tyrell Mobile, Ture & North. And we’ve had some amazing support from the Guardian, CEO Andrew Miller, in particular, and several editors, community leaders, and the sales team who have pushed us in smart new directions.
Next year is going to be more challenging, in many ways – a more serious test of what this platform can achieve. We know we can build useful social software. Can we also help people actually make a difference?
Looks like Christmas has come early for our app users – the latest upgrades to the n0tice mobile apps have just gone live (and we guarantee there’s not a lovelorn snowman anywhere in sight).
We’ve been listening to your feedback and have a host of new features for you to explore which we’re delighted to be able to get out to you before the party season descends.
So what’s there in the stores to download?
For all you android users, the very first exploring app we released last month is now fully functioning for posting direct to n0tice.com on the move.
The new version also features:
- upload photos from Camera or Gallery
- improved user interface throughout
- enhanced mapview
And for iPhone users, we’ve solved that annoying squished photo bug you’ve told us about as well as catching up with all you early adopters with support for iPhone 5.
- view other users’ profiles
- updated report view design
- #hastags & URL links in reports
- ability to follow noticeboards as well as postings
- account view upgraded
There’s links direct to both stores at www.n0tice.com/apps
For the past couple of weeks we’ve been inviting people to n0tice what’s going on in their local High Streets as well as listening to what many of you have had to say about the issue and about the many projects already underway across the UK.
Today we are delighted to be able share some of those stories with this Celebrate & Change My Highstreet film and infographic.
The film is an overview of this n0tice initiative, a short documentary of some of the stories and projects currently happening across the UK, linking back to the original reports for people to find out more. You can watch and share the film on youTube here.
We’ve also created a live infographic, pulling in data from the High Street n0ticeboard at www.highstreet.n0tice.com to show the immediate state of the UK’s high streets.
Now we’re hoping this will inspire even more people to get involved and spread the word about the campaign to wider community.
If you’d like to be a part of this and contribute to the infographic – here’s how: Simply share a picture to Twitter, Instagram or through n0tice of the thing you want to #celebrate or #change, with the hashtag #myhighstreet - and don’t to keep the location turned on.
n0tice has introduced a series of new developments and improvements to its service with the launch of n0tice 2.0 today, making it one of the most open community-based platforms available, focusing on supporting local communities and information sharing.
- The website (http://n0tice.com/) has been upgraded with a new streamlined design and functionality giving added emphasis to the community noticeboards and aiding exposure to local issues, as well as the mapping function which is now much more visible and integral to the user experience. Also included are new social sharing and personalisation features, which help build stronger ties between members of local communities.
- A new version of the iPhone app reflecting the changes to the website.
- A new Android app built by Tyrell Mobile which allows users to browse and map notices on the move and was commissioned following prototyping at a Hack Day in July 2012 organised by LeedsHack.
- New curation tools, available at FeedWax.com, for local publishers to feed tweets, Instagram photos, YouTube videos, news and other local data into their noticeboards.
- Changes to the development platform to allow web developers to post data into n0tice as well as take data out.
- Code from the n0tice platform is being published and shared with an open licence (http://n0tice.org/developers/).
In addition, n0tice is collaborating with global marketing and technology agency, LBi, to raise awareness of the many ways it can be used by civic-minded people and local activists to improve their neighbourhoods collectively. The first campaign in the series will address the changing high street (http://highstreet.n0tice.com/. Subsequent campaigns will address cycling safety and supporting independent local shops.
For further information please call 020 3353 2427 or email email@example.com
It may be the time of year when the words central heating, duvet and touch of frost lure you into hibernation but n0tice-er Kathryn Geels brings you news of a plan to get you out of the house and onto the high street.
We’ve been listening to your feedback over the past few months and working on some significant changes to improve your user experience on the n0tice site. Some of the design changes include more focus on the interactive maps, enhanced emphasis on events – now listed in the main index of postings – better formatting in relation to your own noticeboards, and in general a more streamlined and user-friendly experience.
And, this is just the beginning.
We have also redesigned and significantly upgraded the iPhone app and we’re introducing, for the first time, an official n0tice Android app. The other technical advance is a new curation tool for RSS and geotags which was inspired by n0tice users. You can find out more about the tool at www.feedwax.com.
To celebrate the redesigned technical components of n0tice, we are also launching a campaign.
It’s not just any campaign, nor is it n0tice HQ’s campaign – it’s your campaign. Something that you, your friends, your family, your colleagues, your local shopkeeper can all be involved in.
If you have read Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island, published first in 1995, you’ll know that he speaks not only of the brilliance of British heritage, but also the demise of the British high street. Something to do with the idea that they all look the same.
Whether you would like to put Mr. Bryson in his place, or whether you agree that Bognor Regis
High Street uncannily resembles the King’s Road in Chelsea, the time has come to embrace your local high street.
We’re inviting people across the UK to take part in a photographic study of high streets, by taking photos of the things you want to #celebrate or #change. Be it the brilliant pie & mash shop, or the poor state of the pavement – it’s time to get your high street on the map.
Your photographs will help form the UK’s largest live photographic infographic – that’s “visual representations of information, data or knowledge” – showing everyone the reality of high streets across Great Britain and beyond.
We hope this will prompt a wider debate about the things that are important to us and the things that affect local communities.
How to get involved
1. Visit the campaign site online http://highstreet.n0tice.com
2. Take a picture of the one thing you want to #celebrate
3. Take a picture of the one thing you want to #change
4. Upload your photos and comments via n0tice, Twitter or Instagram. Remember to include the all-important hashtags #myhighstreet, and either #celebrate or #change and switch your location on, that will ensure your photos are included in the campaign
Invite your followers, family, friends, colleagues, and local community to join you in this movement to help regenerate the UK’s high streets. Turn off the central heating, don your wellies and embrace the cold to put your high street on the map.
The story of the open journalism toolkit n0tice.org became the focus for a session at one of Europe’s big broadcast conferences this week.
The Multimedia Meets Radio event for members of the European Broadcasting Union looks at initiatives in other countries and media which could spark ideas, inspiration and innovation in radio as broadcasters move towards a more digital, engaged relationship with listeners and invited us along to share n0tice.org.
This is the sideshow I presented during a session on the theme of User Generated Content and interactivity. The other speakers were Brett Spencer of BBC Radio2 and Yan Luong, social media manager at RTS. (There’s some notes from their presentations and others here under the #mmr12 tag).
A few explanatory points to accompany the slides:
- slides 1 – 14 look at some of the thinking behind the n0tice project, its beginnings at a hack day trying to solve the problem ‘what’s happening near you’ , the general environment it operates in and again making the point that it’s a platform and not an editorial product for one publisher – a point I often find difficult to properly get across due to the fact n0tice is supported by GMG.
- slides 15 – 27 show some of the current user case studies, namely the noticeboards for bridport.n0tice.com, the Guardian’s crowdsourced investigation privatepublicspace.n0tice.com, the ability to collaborate and crowdsource by the platform’s tagging ability eg. #yarnbomb, #streetart and finally the Northern Landscapes photography challenge.
- slides 28 – 32 gives brief details of upcoming initiatives for the n0tice team such as experimentation in augmented reality environments with Talk About Local, assisting local Uk campaigners with important community issues such as High Street renewal and finally, of course, spreading the word more widely.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the tools available at n0tice.org for your community project, news enterprise, major media organisation or whatever it is you do, please feel free to contact me.
Happy to take questions here on the blog, via email ( firstname.lastname@example.org) or arrange workshops or talks with you.
Here’s a little snippet to share before the weekend looms large ….we’ve recently discovered that n0tice.com has been noticed Stateside by the influential Kim Komando radio show.
Kim’s weekly three-hour call-in talk radio show is heard (via her own national radio network called WestStar) on over 470 stations.
In her ‘cool site’ picks she points out n0tice.com and says: “Forming relationships with the people who live near you can be extremely fulfilling. What better way to do it than by attending and organizing local events?”
Have a great weekend – wherever you’re noticing from.
Today is an important day in the n0tice journey. We are opening up the platform for publishers, brands, communities and developers.
Visit n0tice.org, the open journalism toolkit:
It was always our intention to operate n0tice as a service, more like a utility than a destination. And this is the next piece of critical infrastructure needed to achieve that vision.
At n0tice.org you will find a new web site that explains how the platform can fuel open journalism projects.
The tools on offer enable a range of different capabilities for any type of media partner — from large publishing organisations to brands running engagement campaigns to local and special interest communities to media platform developers who need open APIs to build things. These are the same tools we use for n0tice.com and the soon-to-be-released iPhone app.
Among other things partners can now run their own crowdmapping projects, such as a short-term investigation requiring eyewitness accounts, a brand campaign looking to activate people on a journey, a community committed to surfacing important information openly, or a location-based app or integration with another geo platform. We’ve now done several crowdmapping projects at the Guardian since the n0tice.com web site launched several week ago.
Documentation, features and case studies are all available on n0tice.org.
With n0tice.com for users and n0tice.org for partners now both publicly available the n0tice service is only missing one thing — a native mobile app. But that will change very soon. Stay tuned for that announcement.
Meantime, spend a moment with n0tice.org and consider how it might help your business today.