Futures Lab Update #147: Kik Bots and DeeMe Visual Messaging

    by Reuben Stern
    April 7, 2016
    A screenshot from this week's Futures Lab video.

    This story first appeared on RJI’s Futures Lab. Reporting by Katy Mersmann, Rachel Wise and Blair Ussary.

    This week we find out how automated bots within the app Kik might connect teens with news, and we check out a new messaging app that focuses heavily on visuals and design.


    PART 1: Kik’s automated bots

    Kik is primarily a messaging app used by teenagers, but news organizations like Vice and NBC have created automated bots that can chat with users of the app and send them personally relevant content. Kik’s Emerging Partnerships Lead Anthony Green explains how the bots might be designed to learn about each user’s interests and to respond accordingly.
    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    Additional information:

    Users can search within the app to identify chat bots from Kik’s partners, both news organizations and otherwise. More details are explained on the company’s blog and in reports from Tech Crunch and The Verge. It’s also possible for developers to start building their own bots within the app.


    As reported in a previous Futures Lab update, Kik is one of several messaging apps that may hold potential for delivering news and information.

    PART 2: DeeMe

    Somewhere between a social network and a chat app, DeeMe hopes to attract users by enabling them to combine photos, text and graphics into highly designed visual messages. Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Frode Nilsen gives us an overview.
    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    Other messaging apps with stickers or similar features:

    • Snapchat has a built-in ability to add stickers onto photo or video snaps.
    • Facebook’s Stickered for Messenger (available for Android and iOS) enables users to add stickers onto photos that are shared via Facebook’s Messenger app. The latest Android version also allows sharing to Facebook and Instagram.
    • Line Camera includes the ability to add stamps, filters, frames and typographic treatments. It also lets users create their own custom stamps and make photo collages. Images can be shared via Line’smessaging app as well as other social media including Facebook and Twitter.
    • Alive is a video app that enables users to easily add animated sticker-like objects along with filters, text, music and transition effects. So far it’s available only for iOS.
    • Eight other photo sticker apps for iPhone are listed here.

    And if you’re unclear about the whole sticker thing in general, Tech Crunch provides a solid overview.

    Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.

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    The Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the receive email notification of each new episode.

    Tagged: chat apps deeme futures lab kik messaging apps nbc rji vice

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