CBS Mobile’s EyeMobile citizen journalism application for the iPhone, which Tricia reported on first back at CTIA, has officially launched for free on the App Store and the reviews are in its favor so far. Out of 22 reviews, 15 are between four and five stars while the remaining seven are for one or two stars.
How it works: The Treemo Labs-built application is pretty basic. After you “join as a reporter,” there are two functions: report and browse. There’s no search and under recent reports there are hurricane, politics and videos categories, which I assume will get refreshed depending on the latest news. But more importantly, in the end, the success of CBS Mobile’s first iPhone-related project will be completely reliant on the end user.
More like Flickr: Now I’m not about to judge what might be news for “citizen journalists,” but I’m pretty sure photos of a “five-year-old girl beating Zelda by herself” and a dude double-fisting a couple unopened beers in a doorway don’t qualify. One minute I’m looking at a picture from a John McCain rally in Media, Penn., then a few images down the line I’m looking at a Lego figurine of Amy Winehouse – yes, tattoos, cherry-red lipstick and all. It’s worth noting that quite a few of the more newsworthy posts are from a user named “cbseyemobile,” which makes it possible they are part of the project. I haven’t reported an event today because other than the public works crew tearing up and repaving my street I haven’t witnessed or captured anything worth letting others know about. And that’s the problem with CBS’ endeavor – some are treating it like a legitimate news source while others are treating it like Flickr. It’s a great tool and there’s plenty of potential for citizen journalism, but only if it actually serves its purpose.
CBS EyeMobile vs. big brands: We’re eager for a major entertainment company to show us something cool on the iPhone, and this is a step closer, but we wonder why CBS decided to kick things off with a citizen journalism site that’s only been around since April and not one of its major brands, like say one of its Emmy winners from last night. Is the prevailing mobile strategy in Hollywood to start small and see what sticks or to make people want and expect more, which the iPhone has done supremely well? In this, CBS has shown it’s willing to put its name (Treemo did all the development work on this) on an application for a device with a small marketshare so why noy give me something I’d really come back for time and again like How I Met Your Mother? Or for that matter, anything already available from its line of professionally produced shows developed by creative, talented minds and enjoyed by millions. Something tells me those episodes that cost millions to produce will generate more buzz and excitement than an application that is running a photo of a guy standing in Amsterdam’s Dam Square next to a person in a gorilla suit.