New App Aims to Bridge Political, Social Divide
Whole Truth Booth was co-created by DU’s Nina Sharma
During a time of political and social divide, a new app is giving users the opportunity to share their stories and ideas in an effort to ease the discord that became prominent as a result of the 2016 presidential election.
The Whole Truth Booth, available for free on IOS and Android, was created by Nina Sharma, associate director of Project X-ITE at the University of Denver, and her friend Maribeth Romslo. While the app is not associated with Project-XITE, it does encourage its users to engage and try to understand one another, regardless of political or social beliefs, in a way that promotes meaningful dialogue.
Users share their personal stories and viewpoints via an in-app video platform. Videos, which are searchable through the app’s library and online, are categorized by a user’s demographic information and the types of stories users have uploaded.
“This is a nonpartisan project; we want to hear from people of all walks of life, all political persuasions,” Sharma says. “The purpose of the app is to collect stories from people across the country and provide a platform for people to listen to opinions and ideas that are different from their own.”
Sharma and Romslo came up with the idea for the Whole Truth Booth following the election, and by mid-December they had the finished product in hand. They launched an updated version earlier this month and continue to work toward further development. All content uploaded through the app or website is user-generated, and they’re hopeful for additional content during Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 and the Women’s March on Jan. 21.
Sharma says the pair has been approved for a film permit by the National Parks Service to film on the National Mall. While there they’ll pose the question, “What makes you proud to be an American?” According to Sharma, they will have a ground crew of 20 people helping to coordinate interviews.
“We hope that by doing this, we can get a wide variety of opinions and responses,” Sharma says. “We want the app to be a useful and dynamic platform that people will use to broaden their scope of understanding about their fellow Americans. We expect this to be a valuable content platform with new ‘truths’ being shared regularly.”
Long-term, Sharma and Romslo hope to take the Whole Truth Booth on the road to other cities and small towns across America. The two also plan to produce a documentary film based on the stories discovered through the app and website.