I find this a really interesting idea. Kon*Fab has won Knight Foundation Prototype Fund money to build an app that lets you see what stories people sitting near you are tweeting.
Let’s say you’re … in the coffee shop — if you opened up Kon*Fab, the app will present you with a selection of stories based on what people around you are reading and tweeting. If that guy sitting by the wall drinking tea is reading the latest about the David Petreaus story and tweets a link, Kon*Fab will let you know. In that way, Kon*Fab will be able to surface both topical news and local news.
The idea is to help us break out of our echo-chamber social networks and be exposed to reading we might otherwise miss.
…the idea isn’t just better news discovery; it’s also to encourage discussion around the news tied to place. While there’s plenty of conversation on Facebook and Twitter, [the app’s developer Katy Newton] said the idea is to bring that back to a real world (i.e., not digital) setting. “There’s just something missing online when you read a story,” she said.
The app is one of many attempts at breaking out of Eli Pariser’s filter bubble, the one encouraged when our news flows through our social networks — which are likely filled with people a lot like us. “The problem with that, for me, is that even though I like to think I have a largely diverse group of friends, I probably don’t,” Newton says. “So I’m probably getting a lot of the same content.”