6 August 2010 | Mark Stefik
Google's Eric Schmidt recently observed that the Internet is disruptive because it replaces information scarcity with information abundance. What is now scarce in our busy world is reader attention, not "column inches" of news print -- so traditional design rules don't apply. People expect to access this abundance of information easily, and want systems that help them manage their reading attention and information diets.
2 August 2010 | Lawrence Lee
Don't get me wrong, I think aggregators like Flipboard offer a great way to read content from your social information streams. But is it the best way to get your news? Or let me put it this way: are you doing yourself a disservice when you only read news that comes to your attention through your friends? Frankly my friends’ interests don’t necessarily overlap with my own, and the cumulative interests of my friends doesn’t exactly cover all of my interests. The ideal news reader...
27 July 2010 | Lawrence Lee
There's a feast and a famine in news today: we're getting too much news too fast and struggle to filter quality information from noise, and/or we struggle to find high-quality, relevant content along our individual long tail interests. Curation is one way to deal with this problem. But sharing is not necessarily curating. The best curation requires domain knowledge and strategic thinking to organize topics with a purpose and point of view for the curated collection. What's missing: an effective, scalable way to do this across the Web. This is a huge opportunity, especially for news companies.
27 July 2010 | Mark Stefik
In their competition for readership and advertising revenue, online news publishers need to differentiate themselves through curation. This project (as with many things at PARC!) has roots in a trajectory of evolving expertise -- spanning early collaborative filtering and later information visualization and sensemaking systems (beginning with tools for intelligence analysts), to social computing today. Intelligence analysts' situations then are not that different from people's information needs now: too much too fast or too little too late. So insights from our analyst research have guided development of the Kiffets system, which personalizes news along people's content needs and passions. As in our systems for intelligence analysts, the AI and collaboration technology serves as a cognitive amplifier that enables scaling the sheer amount of information that needs to be collected, filtered, and organized.
5 October 2009 | Mark Stefik
Online news is a crowded field, and personalized news is becoming the Holy Grail for news publishers facing decreased revenues and outdated business models. The challenge in personalizing the news: matching what people want with what they get. I believe that successful personalizing the news on the long tail requires three approaches with their own unique sources of "power": curation, search, and social participation. To news consumers, the appeal of personalized news is that they can keep up on the news that they care about, better manage their reading time, and address their information overload. For online news producers, the appeal is increased consumer satisfaction and potentially greater revenues.
15 September 2009 | Mark Stefik
In addition there is growing interest by information consumers in taking more control of their media time. They want personalized news for their specialized interests. The problem? News on specialized topics is often hard to find and is scattered across many sources. Mainstream publishing organizations do not cover topics deep on the long tail because they lack both the editorial resources and the expertise. Can social media provide the means for curating the long tail? In traditional news publishing, the role of curating is typically combined with publishing. While curators of online information are needed to help us find interesting and quality content, the requirements and roles differ from traditional publishing.
8 September 2009 | Mark Stefik
Once music lovers could "Rip, Mix, and Burn" their own CDs they took control of their listening experiences. The economics and consumer expectations have changed for all digital media. Digital media consumers now demand more flexibility in getting what they want, stretching beyond traditional broadcasting models which pre-package content into channels. But as personalization, discovery, and sharing come to the news, it needs to be different from "playlists". How about social indexing to remix the news?
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