Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Using Kerouapp: Live Blogging the student protests

ave you heard of Kerouapp? It's not been used on many occasions but it's definitely a very useful tool. It first came to my attention during the Guardian's coverage of the French elections. Kerouapp makes the most of the combination of geotagging and Twitter and allows the user to connect a Twitter account to the platform. Every time you tweet (or tweet with a specific hashtag), the platform updates an embeddable Google map with the details of the tweet (and image if you include one). You can also cycle through all the messages, and the map will change depending on the location of the device when the tweet was sent.

The Guardian's use was quite neat - Henley travelled around the country interviewing people about their thoughts on the candidates and the elections, with the map taking you from Paris to Marseille to Toulouse and more.
When I found out that one of the founders of Kerouapp was Benji Lanyado, I quickly got in touch. I'd worked with Benji during my stint at Guardian Travel and thought I might be able to use it for The Student Journals. During an editorial meeting though, we realised that you needed a very specific occasion to use the platform, especially since you can only connect one Twitter account to it.

Some weeks ago, we found the perfect opportunity during the National Union of Students' demonstration in London as students protested against fees and also cuts that the government were making. Fionna McLauchlan, our photography editor, took control of the official @studentjournals account and tweeted updates and images from the protest.

Have a look below to see what the outcome was (note that it looks far better on a page with large space for text):

Other ideas for when you could use it:
  1. Personal use when travelling.
  2. In a review column (theatre/restaurant etc.). Not only would the reviewer have to summarise their view in 140 characters, readers would be able to easily follow their favourite critics.
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