Socializing the News

I spent a part of my Tuesday failing miserably. I had a glimmer of an idea Monday night before I went to bed. I was just dozing off and the little spark in my head made me wake up enough to write it down. “I’m going to revolutionize the way human beings interact with news, I’m going to propose the system necessary, it’s going to be open source so people can improve, and it’ll use federated social web principals,” I was thinking as I drifted off. I’m going to develop it for the Mozilla-Knight project because I think it’s better than the idea I submitted for “Unlocking Video”.

I read a few posts on jonathanstray.com about how “people need to get lost in the news”, after his blog was recommended to me by a colleague who wrote me that in his opinion the next generation of news would crowd source the data.

Later I tried to explain my idea to my brilliant partner who is a JAVA genius over video chat. He said,

“That’s going to be complicated, especially if you can’t figure out how to describe it simply.”

Just like Aza Raskin was saying, I was focusing on the wrong problem. I tried to take Aza’s advice and build a prototype in a day, thinking it would help me figure out the actual problem.

I’ve been spending too much time on the computer lately, so I thought I would use things in my yard to figure out my idea. As I played around with rocks, I came a step closer to figuring out what the problem is.

The problem is that people aren’t very curious about what’s going on in the world. They’re curious about what’s going on in their world, how something affects them.

Think about the dinner table. Dinner conversations are bits of news from our personal worlds shared with our friends and families. What we think about this or that thing. The news filtered through our personalities.

I hadn’t paid much attention to Storify before Burt Herman‘s presentation. I had heard of it a while back and might have clicked the link, but I didn’t GET it. After looking at it again, I understood just how powerful rearranging the news could be. Creating stories for your crowd means that your crowd will likely pass the story around and even act on it.

So the idea that is percolating in my mind is one of curation and the creation of ties. It is basically crowd sourcing and social networking the news.

PLEASE NOTE: In the voiceover I use the word “friend”, but I should have said “follower”. I didn’t take the time to rerecord, but the concept is not “friend” but rather “follower”. Also, in an effort to keep it short, I haven’t explained all of the ins and outs of interaction that I’m thinking about. I made the following “nature based prototype” to explain the idea.:

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  6 comments for “Socializing the News

  1. July 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    That video is wicked :-) What I’m wondering, though, is if you could elaborate a little bit more on what your idea is *not*. Presumably, it’s not like twitter or Facebook or Delicious or Pinboard or Google News? Or do you see it more like a layer on top of existing services like twitter? Is it more about sharing with friends or for collectively unearthing and organizing related stories? There’s so many ways you can take this.

  2. Chris Keller
    July 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Solid thought here: “The problem is that people aren’t very curious about what’s going on in the world. They’re curious about what’s going on in their world, how something affects them.”

    • Trina Chiasson
      July 18, 2011 at 3:47 pm

      That’s the quote that caught my eye, too. Your video did a great job of showing how stories connect to our local worlds, but can also fit into larger networks (national, global). This idea feels like the beginning of a new way to bridge gaps between places and cultures.

  3. July 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    It seems to me that the most important aspect of all this is as you say In your “Unlocking Video” piece …( https://drumbeat.org/en-US/challenges/unlocking-video/submission/11/ ) “Giving people the ability to see how a seemingly obscure or location based story actually affects them in their area would create a more informed and engaged public.” in my opinion this is what needs to be emphasized… just a though :-)

  4. July 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    also, i think it would be good to use grapes in the video… I like grapes

  5. July 18, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Great use of video to start explaining the idea. :)

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