I am working on an interesting Competition at l’école de design with the International Class for “Tomorrowland” and their initiative “Design for Change“. The theme is “Relations with Others” an interesting one for a multi-cultural, transversal group of designers.
As such, we had two experts come and present their work on this subject: one was particularly interesting, Claire Huberson from le Hub, based in Paris.
Claire gave us a presentation around the theme of developing “Hyper-local social networks, alternatives to Facebook.”
One focused on the problematic that in Paris, there are no multi-modal transport systems, its name “Ma Micro Planete.” It’s an iphone application using geolocalisation, and can offer you an itinerary where you can take time out to look at interesting things along your route; (whilst walking from the bus to the metro for example), or stop off for lunch; or play some sport. So that if you have the time, you can explore your city in a different way, whilst travelling and connect with others in the network who may be in your area at that particular time. It also includes “Tagatars” (tags and avatars) which are like “greeters” to a particular district who can show you around.
The 2nd project was for a particular district of Paris, la Defense. The network is called “Là Pour Toi” and its premise is to connect those living (around 20,000) and working in the district (150,000) and tourists. For those of you who do not know, la Defense, is the financial district of Paris, and after 21.00hr everything is normally closed. The other point to consider here is that there is no real Mayor of this district, and so no organism to bring people together and organise events.
This social network has some interesting features to connect people entering, living or working in the district to the services and skills on offer. A LETS system (local exchange system) allowing people to swap skills, services and ideas on a regular basis.
The local population are therefore connected and can offer “services to other individuals” in order to gain points to use against services they may require in the future. For example, “I can’t get home from work, can you babysit my children?”.
In addition, it offers:
A multi-media guide, putting you in touch with local businesses.
A way of groups of people to connect and form interest groups.
A cartography of local needs.
Makes connections with local transport systems.
Claire also mentioned some interesting applications:
Blast Theory – Can you see me now? which is a game that you can play on-line and on the streets with up to 20 other players, tracked by satellites.
Tell Me Where, a social network devised to discover new places recommended by people like you.
Mapnificent London which offers ‘moving maps’ that offer you new ways of exploring the city as you move around it.
The main points were that:
There is a disintegration of “real-life” social networks, and therefore these new ideas can start to bring people together in a Hyper-Local way.
People don’t explore (or know) their communities like they used to. These new networks can offer opportunities to re-connect with your “very local” community and meet people you didn’t know lived down the road from you.
There are people living in a community who know a lot of local information, let’s give them the opportunity to have a voice and let other people know.
I think it’s an interesting way forward, what do you think?