I thought it was time to talk about a little media product I was responsible for in Birmingham, which was very favourably received. It was a hyperlocal news platform called TreeCube, and it can be found here:

TreeCube is designed as a easy to maintain news platform for the Birmingham region. It is not strictly speaking a social media platform, as there is editorial input into TreeCube just as there is with newspapers and broadcast journalism. TreeCube has not been updated for a couple of months, but the last edition is still available on the website to view.

Every two weeks from March 2012 onwards, I would scour twitter and various local newswires I was subscribed to in order to find between 10 – 15 news articles of interest to intelligent Birmingham citizens. The important feature of TreeCube is that is uses a Google Maps map to display its news, so all the news has to be geocontextualised. I programmed it myself using the Google Maps API and Javascript.

TreeCube worked quite well, and I had some favourable feedback from lots of people in Birmingham. People were quite smitten by the ‘map view’ of life in general and news in particular. The ‘map level’ of our metropolitan, media consciousnesses was a popular place in Birmingham.

I got to talk to many of the city’s most notable residents, and TreeCube was generally understood as a high-end, high-quality media product in Birmingham. Its magazine feel and local relevance meant it was widely considered a successful project. Other demands on my time mean that I have not been able to curate TreeCube on an ongoing basis, and the website has not been updated since July. However I am hoping to employ some of the time management skills I have picked up professionally as well as during my research degree, and hope to be able to pick up the trail of TreeCube and start editorial input and regular publication again.

I had high hopes for my TreeCube project, and hoped that it would proved commercially viable enough for me to start a company and work on it full time. I had dreams of an office in the Custard Factory and regular business lunches with the most intelligent people in Birmingham. Unfortunately this was not to be, and I am still stuck in my boring (but admittedly very lucrative) IT career.

However TreeCube is still there, and I will continue working on it. Here’s to hoping something interesting comes of it soon.


Majid Salim


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