The diaspora of information

Given: Dan Gillmor famously stated (and I’m paraphrasing from memory): “My readers know more than I do.”

I like to take it an order of magnitude up into the branches of the tree, along these lines: “The diaspora of information (having been set free by the Web, mostly) knows infinitely more than I do.”

So here are a few links to some of the latest advances in what I think of as the tools, techniques, and tricks to surfacing the valuable information out there in the diaspora.

How Yelp deals with everybody getting four stars (on average)
Published at
Star ratings on the Internet are ripe for some sort of psychological research, aren’t they? Merlin Mann spent a few days griping about this on Twitter recently. Check it out when you can.

StackOverflow Shares its Mojo: White Label Q&A for All
Published at ReadWriteStart on October 12, 2009.
Stack Overflow was a huge inspiration for ReportingOn. Now, for $129/month, your own Stack.
“Because the company allows users to rebrand the tool, override style sheets and insert HTML, forum owners can insert advertisements and generate their own revenue.”

Share Folders in Google Docs
Published at Google Operating System on October 12, 2009.
Seems useful for small/student newsrooms using Google Docs as their file management system, right?
“You can now share folders with your contacts and even make some of your folders public. If you allow anyone to view or edit a folder, Google generates a publicly accessible URL for a page that lists all the files from your folder.”

Google Wave And The Dawn Of Passive-Aggressive Communication
Published at TechCrunch on October 12, 2009.
MG Siegler looks at Google Wave and sees a blend of synchronous and asynchronous conversation, then cleverly tags it as ‘passive-aggressive.’
“Whether Google Wave succeeds is really irrelevant. More important is if the idea of Wave does. Again, the idea of passive-aggressive communication.”

A peek behind Technically Philly’s Knight Grant Application
Published at Wired Journalists on October 8, 2009.
A featured Wired Journalists post by Sean Blanda covering the backstory of Technically Philly’s Knight News Challenge grant.
“With the administrative burdens outsourced, the barrier for creating a sustainable news organization in the city is lowered dramatically.”

My aggregation experience: The Michigan government shutdown
Published at on October 8, 2009.
How do you cover a midnight state government shutdown at a student newspaper? You link. And then you link some more. Brian Manzullo has the traffic to prove it works.
“Every update from here on out would be simply aggregation from the Detroit Free Press and other sources. I updated with the consequences of the shutdown, the latest developments, little details and, most importantly, more links.”

Readers expect news to find them
Published at Nieman Journalism Lab on October 7, 2009.
Of course we do. Gina Chen revisits “…if the news is that important, it will find me…”

Next Trends from ONA: Curation, Entrepreneurship, the Real-Time Web
Published at Poynter Institute on October 7, 2009.
Steve Myers lists the crucial takeaways from this year’s Online News Association conference, including this: “Curation is the new aggregation.”

The Rise Of SlideShare And How Corporate Presentations Became Entertainment
Published at SiliconBeat on October 6, 2009.
Chris O’Brien on SlideShare’s growth and why we watch: “Somehow, these presentations have left the dimly lit confines of conference rooms and trade shows to take their place as new forms of art and expression. Business has become entertainment.”

Knight Foundation to Fund Plug-and-Play Version of EveryBlock
Published at Poynter Institute on October 5, 2009.
Pat Thornton talks with Gary Kebbel about a possible future for EveryBlock’s open-sourced code: “The Knight Foundation is working with advisers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to form a team to further development of EveryBlock and make it much easier for news organizations to set up the software on their sites, Kebbel said. Knight will work with several news organizations around the country to install EveryBlock for them. Once this additional development is completed, the new code will be released.”

3 thoughts on “The diaspora of information”

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