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Robin Good's insight:
It's the second time that I go back to this insightful article by Jonathan Stray, dating back to 2011, but which was visionary and rightful then as it is still now. The first time I did, right after it came out, I didn't actually realize in full how relevant and important was the idea being communicated through it.
On the surface the article talks about an hypotethical Editorial Search Engine as a desirable news app. But if you look just beyond the surface, which is by itself fascinating, in essence, Mr. Stray indicates how useful and effective it would be if news publishers moved on from reporting and into 100% curated coverage of a certain topic, issue or story, opening a fascinating discovery gateway around each story and allowing in time for these streams to intersect and interconnect with each other.
By doing this, we can not only make the news much more interesting and relevant, but we can transform them into instruments for in-depth learning about anything we are interested in.
In this light the future of news could be very much about Comprehensively Informing an Audience on a Specific Topic. And if you stop enough time to re-read it and think about it, this is a pretty powerful and revolutionary concept by itself.
He specifically writes: "Rather than (always, only) writing stories, we should be trying to solve the problem of comprehensively informing the user on a particular topic."
"Choose a topic and start with traditional reporting, content creation, in-house explainers and multimedia stories. Then integrate a story-specific search engine that gathers together absolutely everything else that can be gathered on that topic, and applies whatever niche filtering, social curation, visualization, interaction and communication techniques are most appropriate."
Jonathan Stray makes also a very inspiring connection to Jay Rosen of NYU and his idea of covering 100% of a story which in my view correctly anticipated the niche content curation trend while going beyond it in its effort to explore gateways to innovation.
Insightful. Visionary. Inspiring. 9/10
Original article (2011): http://jonathanstray.com/the-editorial-search-engine
(Image credit: Train tracks by Shutterstock)
From the article intro: "Over the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to collect every good piece of writing and advice about verifying social media content and other types of information that flow across networks.
This form of verification involves some new tools and techniques, and requires a basic understanding of the way networks operate and how people use them.
It also requires many of the so-called old school values and techniques that have been around for a while: being skeptical, asking questions, tracking down high quality sources, exercising restraint, collaborating and communicating with team members.
For example, lots of people talk about how Andy Carvin does crowdsourced verification and turns his Twitter feed into a real time newswire."
Mindy McAdams writes: "Verifying social media content “involves some new tools and techniques, and requires a basic understanding of the way networks operate and how people use them. It also requires many of the so-called old school values and techniques that have been around for a while: being skeptical, asking questions, tracking down high quality sources, exercising restraint, collaborating and communicating with team members.”
"Craig Silverman provides an introduction to the topic and then an annoatated list of eight articles/blog posts that add clarity and examples."
Nicola Bruno, cofounder of Effecinque and a journalist fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford) goes the startup route "with the intent of being relentless hunters of news and human filters of information."...
Heres what got my attention:
As the digital flood sweeps into our lives every imaginable kind of information, much of it offering nothing more than a smoke screen to blur or distort our view, figuring this out is crucial.
Who or what can help us see beyond the smoke? Will software like Stats Monkey give us reason to believe that we are swimming only in facts with its mechanical certainty? And what will be the role of journalists in a media landscape in which reporters and news items are little more than commodities, and, in the case of reporters, a soon-to-be redundancy?
Lots of people might know about this, some do not, no matter what, it's still good to see it in print. Human curation works and will play a significant role on the web.
Excerpt: After almost a decade, Google is somewhat sheepishly admitting that humans are, well, useful after all.
What Google is embracing -- finally -- is the emergence of human curation as a central and critical editorial effort in the increasingly noisy web. Curation, it seems, trumps robots when it comes to both interestingness and editorial tone and voice.
Guillame DeCugis: "This is a very interesting piece by Erin Griffith (again!) on the potential scalability issues of content curation. You can pass quickly on her first part where she easily bashes the usual concerns about the curation word being overhyped and over used.
She makes a really good point on her second part, building on the experience of Behance, the platform to publish one's creative work: using a mix of algorithms and human curation is a part of the answer to this scale issue.
But another way to scale curation is to add a topic-centric layer. In the problem she describes (which is typically Behance's problem), scaling up is tough because curation is being applied to sort out the best content on a unique dimension: a home page that's the same for everyone.
"Behance’s front page could no longer display what algorithms determined was the most popular art within [the] site’s community. Because of boobs. They are universally the most popular thing on the Web, and not even a tasteful, creative site like Behance is safe when the “wisdom of the crowd” is involved.
To be clear — boobs are welcome on Behance, but the site skews toward commercially viable work. A porn pit may entice creative directors but not in the way Behance wants to entice them." she funnily writes.
If you added topics to that, you can solve the problem by having people follow whichever topics they want.
And I'm not talking about the usual 10-20 categories you find on any content sites. I'm talking about long-tail, user-created topics that any user can opt in to follow or unfollow. Boobs fans can then follow dozens of Boobs topics curated by other fellow users without having to pollute the experience for everyone else.
By mixing a topic-centric model with curation, you apply it to as many dimensions as your users will decide to curate. That's the model we've been using at Scoop.it and so far, it scales pretty well, doesn't it?"
Robin Good: For the record you may want to check this video of Gabe Rivera from Techmeme at LeWeb 2008 already discussing this issue and arriving at the same conclusions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4Zi_U6iZxU there's no way to build a perfect news or aggregation engine. The best solution is indeed a mix of aggregation and filtering tools matched by a topic-expert curator.
Via Guillaume Decugis, Heiko Idensen
Robin Good: A great video animation introducing some of the key ideas, dreams and concepts behind content curation.
From the video: "One of the most beautiful things about the Internet is this sort of radical discovery, where you start in a place that you are familiar with, that you trust, and then you drill down and down and chase the white rabbit and then you end up in some wonderland you didn't know existed."
The clip includes thoughts from some unique curators, picked and selected by Percolate, the company sponsoring this video.
Inspiring. Insightful. 8/10
Great post written by Eric Brown for Social Media Explorer - This is what caught my attention:
Curation — the act of human editors adding their work to the machines that gather, organize and filter content.
“Curation comes up when search stops working,” says author and NYU Professor Clay Shirky. But it’s more than a human-powered filter.
“Curation comes up when people realize that it isn’t just about information seeking, it’s also about synchronizing a community.”
Part of the reason that human curation is so critical is simply the vast number of people who are now making and sharing media.
“Everyone is a media outlet”, says Shirky. “The point of everyone being a media outlet is really not at all complicated. It just means that we can all put things out in the public view.