What’s SoLoMo, and what does Banjo have to do with journalism?
I’m interested in the growth (and coming explosion) of what’s already being called “SoLoMo” — the technology-driven intersection of Social, Local and Mobile media. That could include news or advertising, or innovative ways to get daily deals (your mobile buzzes with a text message when you approach a pizza place that is putting slices on sale for $.25 each!) to easy ways to find the closest hardware store when you’re in a neighborhood you don’t know very well.
SoLoMo is all about content and interactions that are keyed to your location, via the GPS in your mobile phone or device. At its most basic, SoLoMo is when you check in to a restaurant on Foursquare or Facebook.
Why is it important for journalists to know about SoLoMo?
Because it’ll be a big part of the future of media, including news media. The Street Fight interview with the founder and CEO of Banjo, one of the hottest new location-based mobile social apps (I guess that would be LoMoSo…), asks the question of how Banjo and SoLoMo applies to journalism:
The news is already starting to use Banjo. A couple of weekends ago I had CNN on, on a Saturday, and one of the reporters was using Banjo to report on the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. He said with Banjo he could go there and he could actually search by the keyword “Trayvon” and he knew every person that was showing up, whether it was Twitter or Instagram or whatever the case may be, was talking about Trayvon and was actually in Sanford, Florida, and was therefore highly relevant.
Another news channel was using it to report on the weather where there were tornados. They couldn’t get to the affected area right away, but they could go there with Banjo.
Download Banjo on your phone and check it out, willya? It’s available for iPhone and Android. Try it, and if you don’t find a use for it, delete it. At least you know about it and how it works, and won’t be out of the loop as it becomes more and more popular.
It’ll be increasingly important as we embrace the digital-first imperative that some companies are espousing, to stay on top of new developments and cool new apps and tools that can help us be better journalists. Even if you choose not to use some of these new tools, it’ll help your career to be familiar with them.
The SPJ’s Digital Media Committee will help you keep up with the ever-evolving media technology, both here on the Net Worked blog and in the Quill column.