Show me the Next is an incredibly simple app (or rather, an incredibly simple website). You visit, it displays an article and you press a button and it displays another article.
That’s it. There’s next to no styling – even less than this website’s – and no navigation or archives.
I admit to liking this idea (it reminds me of Today’s Guardian), although I’m not so sure there’s really ever a time when you just want something, anything to read without exercising some choice. Nieman Journalism Lab reckons there might be:
You’re on a long escalator with a phone in hand, and you want to thumb through something interesting quickly, without having to look for it. You’re sitting in gridlock traffic and tired of radio. You don’t want to skim Twitter or Facebook — you only want one story at a time, you don’t want to have to search for anything, but you still want to be surprised. Show Me The Next strips down online reading and discovery to their most basic components
Perhaps that’s right, but you’d need to be an expert curator and have a pool of top quality writing to draw from. At the moment the articles are a little too random, with a lot of stuff from Wikipedia. I don’t think it’s compelling enough when you can dive into McSweeney’s or Longform or your RSS feed with a just a tad more effort.
Still, there’s potential in the idea, or at least the process and technology behind it. And that’s what I really like about Show me the Next. Pretty much anyone can build a barebones WordPress theme and link it to, say, a Pocket account. No overheads, no maintenance, no app and, most importantly, no actual writing. It works everywhere. Just me, my site and my Pocket button. There’s some real chutzpah in that.
And users don’t have to learn or think about anything at all. That’s always an interesting idea.
What content could work? Fiction? In depth, insider articles on, say, economics? I could get it built in a couple of hours…