Site Weaves Global Narrative With Geo-Tagged Photo Captions
Hi allows users to plot events on a map and share them with others around the world.
“Storytelling, in its most atomic form, is just a place plus an event,” explained Craig Mod, the creator of a website called Hi, which blends citizen journalism with social media to plot real-time happenings on a map.
Members of Hi — currently invitation-only — may post either a ‘sketch’ or a ‘moment.’ A sketch comprises a photo plus a 20-word description, while a moment is not limited by number of words, although about 300-500 is suggested. All of these are visible as pins on a map which, as the userbase and number of events documented both grow, turns into a sort of global history. You could see who before you had gathered in the same spot at the neighborhood park, for example, or simply how other people — in nearby or far-flung places — are spending their Sunday afternoons.
The two-tier system of sketches and moments allows users to receive update notifications on the more expanded stories from people they choose to follow, as there are usually fewer of these, but they help create stronger connections between users. By default, every post is tagged with a record of weather conditions, which Mod explained as a way to utilize the “tremendous amount” of ambient data that is collected every day. He sees Hi as valuable mode of collecting information:
Our philosophy is that you should collect a ton of stuff — sketch often and prolifically. The goal being to develop an eye for curiosities, a heightened awareness, and so on … We’ve become habituated to these magic, networked blocks of aluminum and glass in our pockets … But to focus only on ‘transcendent or simply entertaining’ storytelling would be to miss how important these devices are in the context of journalism — an area where we see the potential for Hi to become most powerful.
While Hi only currently exists as a website — albeit a mobile-optimized one — the team is working on developing an app to facilitate the journalistic process. But anyone can observe the narratives emerging in select cities on the site. And if you’re wondering about its name, Mod has two words: “international simplicity.”
Update: 1,000 PSFK readers are invited to try out Hi. Click here to become a member.
Images via Hi.