First of all, an apology for bombarding my Twitter followers with news tweets. I made the mistake of experimenting with my personal account and learned the downside of “open-air” product development. The spigot has been turned off.
This past week we’ve been experimenting with Twitter feeds and automation with the aim of solving a growing industry problem. Ironically, the aim of our Twitter development work is to increase the SNR of industry news rather than decrease it. We also aim to improve a news stream’s utility for the rest of the industry while overcoming a common user behavior.
There is a very large number of sources of news and valuable opinion to track in our industry. The Xuropa platform gathers about 80 streams from across the industry which often yields over 400 items per day. And the number of sources is actually growing - more blogs covering narrower and deeper segments of knowledge; and new neighboring industries such as Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are starting to become of interest. (By the way, if there’s a source that you think is important to the community you can add it yourself.)
And here’s the reason for the development: While having all of your news in one place helps (a feed reader, or a customizable page like iNews on Xuropa, for example) , there is still an awful lot of news out there to scan through and know what is and is not of value. Everyone is busy, and time is getting more scarce.
The most effective way to get the insight of what should be read is to leverage the community (”crowd sourcing“). What the community reads is likely to be what is most valuable to read and should bubble up to the top for others to read.
This is the basic principle behind Digg, but Digg doesn’t help electronic design. We simply do not have a large enough community to compete with the volume of Consumer Electronics readers, for example. “Using OCP and extensions to support system-level cache coherence” is never going to get to the top of Digg. But it is currently #6 in today’s Top News in Xuropa. ie. If you go to Xuropa iNews you’ll get a good idea of what news is being read and what you should maybe read yourself. (There are still some discrepancies that we’re working on as we’re increasing the sophistication of the system, but you’ll get the idea.)
So, why Twitter? This is all part of the “dissaggreated web”. Specifically, you shouldn’t have to go to a particular website to get a utility it offers. It sounds counter-intuitive, but that’s the way things are going.
You shouldn’t have to come to Xuropa to read the article, but we need to make a note that a particular article has been read and that contributes to the ranking of that article. The bigger the dataset we have to work on, the better the results we can present to the community.
While this is just the start of a small piece of what we’re doing on Xuropa, I hope this explains a little bit about where we see this going.
So, we’ve learned a lot in this past week. (Unfortunately for some I did not learn fast enough.) As always, any input, suggestions, or requests you may have, drop us a line, tweet, email, or comment. Just no letters please - save the tree.
And finally, thank you to all those that provided feedback on this project.
Posted under Community, Features, Xuropa, industry