Posts Tagged ‘Social network’

taptuOld media companies still haven’t grasped that they’re going to have to forge new alliances and collaborate with once bitter rivals if they’re to survive and thrive.

Newspapers and broadcasters have always operated as walled gardens and the model has served them so well that some have come to think they have a right to exist, or that brand loyalty will see them through, or that an iPhone or iPad app will pull the fat from the fire.

   Technology is taking us into the media equivalent of fantasy football where readers can pick and choose their favourite columnists and commentators, mix and match the organizations that serve them, and all while letting their social networks do the heavy lifting by filtering the tide of new information.

In this world aggregators like Taptu, Flipboard Pulse and Zite take different approaches but they all have one thing in common, they break the boundaries that organizations put up between their content and their competitors.

Taptu talks about DJ-ing the news and mixing streams to curate them exactly as you want, by organization, or topic, or special interest.

For those who don’t want to invest the time or effort in doing this then the social graph that connects them with what friends and peers are reading, or watching, or finding interesting, is less taxing.

Is it too fanciful to think that ‘old media’ moguls might join forces to aggregate their own content on a shared platform rather than relying on third parties to do the job?  Perhaps it is, but as things stand they’re losing out.

Frederic Filoux makes the point that they’re not getting audience data from those third parties and it’s the rich learning mined from understanding new patterns of consumption that will be the foundation of future advertising models.

Getting media rivals to collaborate would be problematic, for sure.  Getting agreement on a format and ways to share and monetize material would be a Herculean task, no question. But not to even try would be foolhardy.

Flipboard has just picked up another $50m in venture capital funding; it’s lean (32 employees) it’s nimble, it’s single-minded and it’s tech savvy.

Against that, media businesses may harbor deep rivalries, but they also have rich content at local, national and international level and the potential to package their material in new ways that would better serve the audience and themselves if they could find a way to collaborate.

It’s worth remembering that before SMS became a multi-billion pound earner for mobile operators the business was Balkanised to the extent that messages couldn’t be sent to people outside individual networks.

It only took off when the restriction was removed and a business model was instituted that allowed rival operators to charge each other a small fee for passing messages to other networks.

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logoI’ve been using a Beta site called Storyful for the past couple of weeks after being attracted by the notion of skilful journalistic curation of big stories in real time.

The team collates reports, pictures, video and comment from multiple sources – some traditional news content, some UGC material – and incorporates social network elements to build stories with a range of perspectives.

The journalists behind it say Storyful: “Separates streams of useful news from a river of useless noise. We discover the authentic voices and primary sources on the big stories.”

From what I’ve seen so far, it’s useful, interesting, and novel though I can’t vouch for the rigour of their verification of sources.

Watching a story being built in real-time using the best of the web is fun and, more importantly, opens the door to deeper engagement.

Last week while reading about the Pakistan drone strikes it led me to this fascinating insight into the life of a drone “pilot”

The video is nearly 11’ long but if you join around the 8’ 50“ mark you’ll hear an airman say: “The thing I enjoy most about the job is knowing what’s going to be in the paper the next day and, when I read about it, knowing I was involved.”

This is a view of the future of modern warfare, fought thousands of miles from the battlefront and from what looks like a converted freight container. Incredible.

Intersect explainedFor the past couple of weeks I’ve been on a busman’s holiday in Seattle – getting some R&R but also dipping into the local tech scene.

During that time I’ve been exploring a storytelling, social network start-up called Intersect which has just come out of Beta.

At first glance it’s just another blogging platform but a second look reveals a number of interesting features that really mark it out as something different.

And the more I’ve used it the more potential I’ve seen for it to be harnessed for pro-am newsgathering.

One of the most interesting aspects is the way it deals with levels of privacy, an area that has bedevilled Facebook and Google.

Intersect allows its users to create their own private circles, mirroring the kind of complex social relationships we all maintain.

This fine-tuning of people into circles of, say, family, or close friends, acquaintances, work colleagues or business contacts, gives a much greater degree of control over who gets to see what you choose to publish.

It also makes use of place and time to create intersections between users’ stories.

For instance, it’s possible to see not just the stories that have been filed about a particular area, but also to define a time period to filter what you might be interested in.

In my case I’d been to the Evergreen State Fair and was keen to see who else might have been at this year’s show and what their impressions had been.

Seeing the world through other people’s eyes is always interesting, especially if it extends an experience we’ve had.

Now imagine what it would have been like to extend the timeline backwards to the 1950s and to hear stories and see pictures from the State Fair then and to reflect on what had changed – and what had stayed the same.

Intersect founder Peter Rinearson says stories are a big way we share, connect and remember.

“On Intersect, like in memory, stories live at the times and places we experience them, where they can reach out to people who cross our path.”

These threads of the past overlapping with the present open up all manner of serendipitous possibilities for discovery.

Rinearson likes to relate an example of someone finding a shoebox full of pictures in the attic, not knowing who is in them, posting them on the site and not only getting answers but possibly providing a third party with a treasured piece of information related to an image, or place, or time.

He wants Intersect to be a place where people tell stories that foster community connections.

The site has editorial staff selecting what they consider to be the best material for highlighting as Intersect Story Picks and this goes towards enhancing a contributor’s reputation.

It also has a borrow function in which a story you’ve found interesting can be borrowed and brought into your own timeline. The more times your own stories are borrowed the more your reputation is enhanced.

This reputational element could prove especially helpful for journalists when curating crowd-sourced content around an event or theme.

There’s also potential for seeding event coverage in advance, by finding who will be attending and, if they’re willing, adding them to a circle of contributors who can supplement journalists’ material.

It doesn’t have all the answers to the thorny questions over trust and objectivity of contributors but it’s the best example I’ve seen of a set of tools that might, just might, foster a new form of collaborative journalism between professional newsrooms and the people formerly known as the audience.

The site has $1.6m seed funding and its initial launch will be in the US only.