When the Paris Attacks happened, I did not want to sit around and wait to watch a CNN broadcast. The news channels were mostly reporting on the same content.
I wanted to see footage from direct witnesses who experienced the event first-hand. Watching the footage filmed by a victim inside the venue evoked feelings in me that I couldn't have experienced had I only stuck to reading articles about the tragedy. Where could I find short bits of shareable content that could be spread easily across social media platforms?
For the Facebook 2015 Global Hackathon Finals, my team developed a new kind of social media platform centered around watching "live" videos. This project was pitched before Facebook Live existed on the platform. Connections could be drawn between this idea and Facebook's now public feature.
Representing the one team from Carnegie Mellon, our group placed 1st out of 21 teams, hailing from 11 unique countries.
Teammates: Avi Romanoff, Nikhil Choudhary,
Feelings of Frustration
As a visual thinker, I found it difficult to feel engaged by just reading articles on the Paris attacks. I could only piece the situation together based on interviews and quotes from bystanders. Frustrated and wanting to know more, I started searching around the internet for live footage of what was going on but didn't see much.
I settled on watching a CNN broadcast that was streaming "live" at the time. The broadcast wasn't showing me anything new that I hadn't seen already. I figured maybe Instagram would have some more up to date footage being shared in real time. That night, my Instagram feed was filled with pictures of parties, food and selfies.
When I searched the hashtag "#ParisAttacks", I saw photos that had been made to help spread awareness and show support. Once more, I asked myself, where could I watch live videos of what's occurring in Paris? There must be a place where people are uploading videos in real-time.
After a day or two, media outlets began reporting the "Vine Heard Around the World". There was a single Vine filmed by a witness at the soccer game going on nearby where the shooting took place.
This one Vine captured the moment when terror and fear was felt around the stadium.
This video became the first bit of any media that got shared around the world concerning the attacks. It wasn't a CNN broadcast, a New York Times article or some tweet. It was a Vine. I started researching more on articles that addressed this viral Vine and its impact on how people felt about the attacks. This sparked the idea to create a platform where people could upload and watch live footage from around the world.
Users can navigate around the world map while dots appear in real-time in response to where footage is being uploaded. Clusters of dots indicate areas concern or interest. Hovering over a dot allows the user to see what trending hashtags users are tagging their videos with in relation to the specific location. Selecting a hashtag brings up a 3x3 grid with "Most Recent" videos related to the hashtag appearing first in the top-left corner. As more videos come in related to the hashtag, each square shifts over to the right to make room for the new content.