If Tinder works for dating, why should it not do so for news? In this project, the intuitive principle of Tinder was applied to journalistic contents. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research promoted the development of an innovative news and information app for the city.
The crisis in journalism affects regional newspapers as much as quality media. This development demands innovative ideas. Researchers at the Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI), the Institute for Information Management Bremen and the Hans-Bredow-Institut developed and implemented an innovative app for searching news and information by using an experimental approach of co-creation. Together with future app users, the researchers developed an innovative mobile news and information app with “Tinder logic” for young people. Thereby, did not focus on the interests of a media company but on the needs, habits and demands of users.
The app addresses citizens from Bremen and two adjacent rural districts (Osterholzen and Verden). At first, research on the urban public sphere was conducted in 2018 and 2019. Based on these findings, a mobile app independent from classical news providers was developed as an experimental prototype. The app focused on young people aged 16 to 36. Thereby, the app was based on the intuitive principle of Tinder, meaning that contents can be marked as “read” or “don’t read” by a simple swipe and, thus, includes the interests of users in a self-learning way.
Don't Be Afraid of a Filter Bubble!
At first glance, the app promotes the phenomenon of the filter bubble. But an algorithm processes the messages in the app in such a way that this is not the case. The learning algorithm is supposed to be broken twice in order to counteract possible filter bubbles. The app does not filter out information from the local environment and content that is important for the community.
Prof. Dr. Wiebke Loosen
, Julius Reimer
and Paul Solbach from the Hans-Bredow-Institut worked on the project together with Prof. Dr. Andreas Hepp
from the ZeMKI Bremen
and Prof. Dr. Andreas Breiter
from the ifib at the University of Bremen
Header image © paulrommer / istockphoto.com
The project connected empirical communication and media research with the so-called co-creative software development. The experimental app is intended to counteract a looming loss of relevance of the city and region. So far, mobile ways of living, place bound social relationships and very different ways of media use have not been considered in concepts for offers of information. Thus, classic news providers do not reach many (young) people anymore.
While developing the app, the project focused on a close co-operation with the media economy and digital economy in the metropolitan region of Bremen, the urban and municipal administration, advisory committees of the districts as well as political parties and organisations who are active in the city and the surrounding areas. However, local organisations, such as sports clubs, (neighbourhood) initiatives, art societies/initiatives, social movements with a local reference or religious communities were integrated as well. By using the approach of co-creation, empirical findings and insights as well as expectations and demands of future users were included into the whole process of software development right from the beginning.