All first-year students are required to take Red Burns’ class Applications of Interactive Technologies, and it consists of weekly speakers (such as artist Vito Acconci, activist blogger Ethan Zuckerman, and Microsoft Research group manager Lili Cheng) and student presentations on the previous week’s speaker. Two groups of approximately five students present every week, and those groups may also combine and present together.
The speaker on which my group and I presented was Craig Newmark, of Craigslist. After much discussion and planning, all ten of us worked together to organize a face-to-face market: we encouraged students to bring in items to trade, organized them by category, worked in real time to coordinate exchanges between students, and moderated a discussion on the experience. The activity was very successful, and afterwards we presented Redslist, the beginnings of an idea for an ITP version of Craigslist. A few students (both from within the original group (Thomas Robertson and myself) and not (John Dimatos, Cameron Cundiff)) met again to discuss how to proceed with the project (either inside or outside of class projects), and we wrote the following statement:
Redslist began as a response to Craig Newmark’s presentation in Red’s Applications class. We envision it as a set of tools for presenting and accessing ITP student content such as event details, items, services, and expertise — i.e. the sort of content we currently interact with on the listserve and ITPedia. Redslist would be unique in the way we could post and retrieve this information; an open platform for development, an API, and some core applications would make it possible for us all to develop our own way of interacting with the information on Redslist.
We’ve come up with a few ideas for applications so far in addition to the existing listserve and wiki: an interface for chat and text messaging to and from Redslist, using XMPP; a way to tag and forward listserve messages to Redslist for easier access; and using the displays at ITP to showcase recent activity on Redslist.
So far we have a group of several first and second years working on this, and we invite the rest of you to check it out. It could take off or not, but we know that ITP offers a unique chance to try something ambitious and different. So email us or come to the next meeting, and we’ll give it a shot.
We are planning another meeting for later this week, and I will make subsequent posts as the project progresses.