In his first post for the OJB Wilbert Baan looks at sorting news by systems
The website as we know it is breaking apart. Widgets, API’s and feeds take information to other places outside the domain. In a network culture we like to take our information with us. Your mobile phone, desktop, widgets, websites, digital television, everywhere. For the EN project I am thinking about how we can interact with news as an object. How can we take the article everywhere or use it to make new collections.
The article as a social object
For example on Flickr the picture is the social object. It connects you to your friends. You have a personal contact page where you see the pictures that are relevant to you. All of these photos are probably public information, but it is the selection based on your personal network that makes this page interesting for you.
The same thing happens at Del.icio.us, where you have a page with bookmarks by your friends. Or Last.fm where you can see what music your friends listen to. And Twitter, where your timeline with messages from friends makes the service valuable.
Todays most popular websites are created around us
Almost all of the information on web 2.0 websites is public information. Links on Del.icio.us, artists and songs on Last.fm, personal notes on Twitter. The thing that adds value to the information are the collections we create around ourselves. We are in the center and our virtual friends are around us. Web 2.0 services are about groups of people we trust based on who they are or what they have done.
News is almost never presented around us. It is presented from a perspective where editors define what’s important. This is a very good and trustworthy system. It makes websites and newspapers different and gives direction and personality to a media outlet.
Can news be customized around you? You know what news is important to you, right? Do you trust your friends? Can news presentation be reduced to the article (object) and be arranged by systems?
Most news-websites already sort news on popularity and time. This is already a more systematic arrangement of articles and might have nothing to do with the actual news value. I’m not arguing that we should customize the entire news website, it can also be one page like the ‘friend’-pages on Del.icio.us, Flickr and Twitter.
Can we ‘amazon’ the news? Would you like to know what your friends read? Or would you be missing the information that is important to you, or the surprises? Some websites – like Google News – are already experimenting with recommendations. Do you like it? And do you know more examples of websites that create a valuable news experience around you?
This is my first post on OJB. I’m an interaction designer for the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant and write a personal blog with my thoughts about new media. My definition of Friends on the web are real life friends mixed with people you admire or are interested in, it’s more a network. I learned the term ‘social object’ from a presentation by Jyri from Jaiku.