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« What Jon said | Main | Right on »

Monday, September 08, 2008


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Alfred Hermida

Some thought-provoking ideas here. You might be interested in this social media aggregator we have launched on the Canadian elections at NetPrimeMinister.ca


Cool list. Lotsa tasty links.

15.2. needs work. "such organizations" Unclear which org's you mean here.


I see great potential in utilizing sites like YouTube to create transparency in local government. How many people can actually attend meetings at 6:30 on a Tuesday night, especially when they are announced only the night before or in an obscure location in the local paper.
If video of even moderate quality was rolling during sessions, it'd be easy for people who cannot attend due to: children, illness, short attention span etc to at least skim the content.
For example, I live near Charleston, but in a different county, due to limited airtime it isn't practical for the local news to cover, but the issues at those meetings are still relevant/important. Local sites could stream or archive the meetings and provide accurate contact information for representatives. It could have high value if it were easily searchable and accessible. The main problem I see is, how would this information be disseminated so people would know that it is even available?


The link Alfred provided tracks conversations about Canadian politicians with feeds from multiple platforms (blogs, Twitter, video-sharing sites, Flickr, etc.). Talk about smart aggregation. It's now added.

Thanks for the heads-up, Rich. I think 15.2 makes better sense now... because it was a nonsensical mess before.

I added a mention of live-streaming video and a link per Heather's suggestion, although the link topic isn't related to the civic idea Heather was writing about.


My blog is down as it's transferring right now to a hosting service, but I want to post the hell out of this everywhere.
Amazing, comprehensive and I'm going to have to read it again.

Dan T

Great stuff here, Dan! Do you have any specifics on AI being used to filter news streams? That sounds like an amazing area for exploration. Our storm-buzz page was just a simple filter, it worked great, but quickly broke down in usefulness, literally as the storm passed. It showed me how much potential there is, but how hard it will be to "get it right".

I also would point out a service I've been intrigued by, http://www.blogburst.com. It's basically a way for blog posts to be syndicated on mainstream news sites, and I think the concept has a lot of potential. Maybe it could fit into section 09? There is so much potential for cooperation between bloggers and news sites.


Yes, but it's just theory now: Basically a step from putting simple intentions into web robots ("Alert me whenever a 1965 Mustang is up for sale east of the Rockies") to personal software agents that learn your interests and quirks (as in artificial neural networks) and filter larger streams of information and media for things it predicts will interest you.

In other words, a never-sleeping digital representation of yourself, that acts on your behalf.

Couldn't pass a Turing Test (and there are those who say neural nets are not true A.I.), but given enough data and time and the right learning algorithms, it could become fairly indistinguishable from you.

The idea has all sorts of applications, but one of the most obvious would be in selecting content (even obscure content) that matches your interests. Like Amazon recommendations on steroids.


This is beautiful, Dan. Spreading this around as far and wide as I'm able. I might pass it around the communication department at the College, too.

The news org has to avoid silos as much as possible; open data exchange is key. The fewer silos, the faster the message travels. APIs ideally should be standardized (much like what laconica is doing with their Twitter-compatible service); with that, one tool can be built and messages can be readily exchanged with little impact on the user's workflow. Ultimately, the success of a modern news org is determined by how few hoops a submitter must jump through to get their content to the org. If it's not easy, they won't do it. This may be too specific, but it's the first thing that jumped to mind...

I may have more after I sleep on it, though you've got most of what I'm thinking about well covered. :) Well done!

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