Posts Tagged ‘Justcurio.us’
In browsing TED.com one night (see my blog post about TED.com here), I came across a speech given by artist Jonathan Harris, about connecting the internet to the human emotions expressed within it. Jonathan is an internet artist and designer who “aims to explore and explain the human world”. In his TED speech he previewed his past projects including a time machine campaign he worked on with Yahoo! As well as the premier of his search engine Universe, which compiles news data around subjects in a visual sky of constellations and stars. Fascinated by the high quality of Jonathan’s ideas and projects, I found his personal site where he provides links to all of his work. Browsing through his portfolio I was continuously impressed by his ideas, which includes “We Feel Fine,” a system that searches the world’s newly posted blogs for the word “I feel,” and “I am feeling” to gauge the feelings of web users at a specific moment. Another site of his I was drawn to and wish to describe in this blog is Just.curio.us.
Justcurio.us is an online network established as a forum of “strangers helping strangers” through anonymous questions and answers. Users pose questions, open for anyone to answer, with one condition: to ask a question, you must first answer someone else’s. Questions can be about anything — and they really are — users have the ability to ask any question they wish about any topic they want– from funny, to personal, offensive and useless. When first browsing on the site I am posed the question: Stones or Beatles? And presented with the option to answer the question or move on to another one. Additional information under the question includes where the user asked it from and when they asked it.
After choosing to answer this one (The Beatles, of course!) I am given a chance to ask a question, enter my email address for anonymous answers, and ASK! Statistics on the site say that 2,281,009 strangers have answered 469,808 questions, a number that continuously grows.
Other then the questions and answers, the scope of the site includes a page about Justcurio.us, the rules of the game, a search feature, and a zeitgeist, which lists the most popular question topics by size.
Justcurio.us is completely confidential, but users posing questions do have the option to have answer responses emailed to them. The user’s IP address is used only to determine the country location and as they claim, “no human will ever see your IP address”.
Unfortunately this site is relatively small, so the amount of questions asked are limited. Additionally, it seems many people who ask and answer questions do not take the intention of this site seriously, often asking useless or offensive questions or giving answers that do little more than poke fun at the question or questioner. Fortunately for users who do wish to use this site to connect with strangers on another level, the option to moderate answers is available. Users who turn this feature on have the ability to flag inappropriate questions and answers, bringing users even closer together in this social world.
I think this site has great potential and really works to connect individuals. I like this site best because those who use it are so geographically spread out. People pose questions from the United States, Canada, Ireland, Iran, Israel, Australia — literally everywhere. Although this site is currently small and has very little reputation, I think the idea behind it — strangers helping strangers — is a great way to connect people on a more intimate level. As users never find out who answers their question, they are completely free to ask whatever they want. I think this anonymity helps keep the focus of the site merely on the question — it doesn’t matter who you are, why you’re asking, or why you’re answering — you are free to help a stranger without feeling like your experiences or knowledge can be identified.
I really like the work that Jonathan Harris produces and his desire to connect the internet with human emotions and turn users into connected individuals — human beings instead of IP addresses. Justcurio.us is a project that, with moderation and responsible, serious users, could yield much benefit in connecting people, emotions, and lifestyles. It is valuable to feel that someone, a complete stranger, heard your question and cared enough to take the time to answer it anonymously — solely for the purpose of helping resolve your own issues.
It would be my hope that this site grows, engaging users all of the world to help out the neighbors we have all over the world — paying it forward to a time when we might all need help ourselves.
Explore the work of Jonathan Harris – it’s all interesting!