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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

IIT-B students launch first social media reader in India

Bhavya Dore, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 18, 2013
First Published: 01:02 IST(18/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:08 IST(18/3/2013)

In possibly a first for any student media body in the country, Insight, the student newsletter of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, has launched a social media reader on Facebook.

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The application was launched on Saturday, and has already seen more than 150 users.

A social media reader integrates news content with a social networking platform (Facebook) showing people what their friends are reading, and in the process creating a more social online reading experience.

The Washington Post Social Reader was launched in 2010, while the Guardian Social Reader launched in 2011, with both gathering millions of users.

“With this, the virality of every article will increase,” said Nidhi Shanbhag, 23, a final year student and chief editor of Insight. “We believe it will reach more people and if more people read as more will be interested in contributing as well.”

Previously, if students read articles or commented on them, it wouldn’t be automatically available to their friends through Facebook. Shanbhag said that 40% of all hits Insight had received came in the last two days since the app was launched.

The app was developed at no cost and will be free for use, for those inside as well as outside the IIT-B community.

A computer science student developed the application in less than 10 days. “More people will now be able to read articles based on what’s trending,” said Rahul Gupta, 20, a member of the Insight team, who developed the app. While the campus readership is around 10,000, Insight also has readers in other colleges.

“The interface is smooth, but it’s like reading on the Insight website,” said one student who had tried it. “The advantage for Insight is that if I read something, it is likely that it will show up in my friends’ news feed.”


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