What is it: Plague is social networking without friends or followers. When a user uploads a post it is automatically sent to the four Plague users in the closest geographical proximity to the sender. Recipients of the post have an option to swipe upwards to ‘spread’ the post onto the next four users nearest to them, or swipe downwards in order not to. The name and location of the author is permanently tagged to a post. The number of people who have shared a post is also recorded and brief comments can be added by users as the post spreads outwards from it’s source.
Use for News: David Cohn has some very interesting things to say about Plague on his Digidave blog. ‘It’s a simple and somewhat addictive app and anyone interested in the dissemination of information (journalists) should pay attention to it. There is always talk about “gamification” of news and 9 out of 10 times we think that means there should be a game with a journalist as the main character and we follow them along on their investigation. WRONG (only journalists think this is a fun game concept). The Plague gets it right: The “game” isn’t about how you get information – it’s how you spread it’.
Upside: It’s super easy to use. Quick to stream through multiple posts and requires limited effort to disseminate the good from the bad. Watching the spreading of information and observing cultural snapshots is fascinating.
Downside: It could be dangerously addictive.