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NPR executives have been known to brag that theirs is just about the only news organization to show up in people’s personal ads.
“We’re the only news organization where public trust has increased over the last decade.” While there is as yet no dating site for public radio nerds — though Wilson said the idea come up — his development team recently whipped up a way for listeners to show off their support and discover friends with similar passions.A new Facebook app called I Heart NPR asks fans to put themselves on a map with thousands of others.Users can play games, such as Name That NPR Theme Song (I earned four-of-four virtual tote bags, thank you), and then share the results with friends.Secret games will be “unlocked” with every 100,000 new users, Wilson said.and what it represents to them — the NPR personalities, the weekend rituals, the shared values that bring together like-minded people on a first date.At the top of the Facebook app is a Twitter-inspired #gopublic stamp, which the network uses as branding on all social platforms.
Local stations can also use the stamp and embed the Facebook app on their own sites.
I Heart NPR was conceived, Wilson reassured me, prior to the controversy that forced out two NPR executives and intensified a debate about federal funding of public broadcasting.
(It looks like that funding survived the 2011 budget, by the way.) Wilson said this is a lighthearted experiment and he chose not to define any hard goals for it.
“We’re not trying to promote this in an aggressive way.
We’ve put it out there and if it takes off, fabulous.” A half-dozen programmers, working part-time, built the app in about two weeks.
NPR’s digital team works on a bold schedule: Programmers work on two-week coding cycles to encourage rapid development.