Friday, June 22, 2007

News = real time personalised information part II

This recent post 'How to please all the people all of the time' might sound a little far fetched to those who don't write or read blogs.
As I drove home last night an example came to me which illustrates the notion that news has no future as a mass, BROADcast model.
I was listening to the BBC's Radio Five Live. It's a news and sport channel. And I found myself wishing I could reach for a fast-forward button so I could zip past this particular piece of broadcast news to get on to the next item, in the hope I might find the next one more personally interesting.
Apply the lastfm model to news, for example. Then I'd start to get the disaggregated pieces of 'news' (read information) I actually wanted - at the time I wanted them.
And if I can activate community recommendation/introduction/reputation systems within that, all the better.
If I, a digital immigrant, am thinking this, what must a digital native be doing? I suspect they've pretty much already given up on broadcast news - and are googling for news, selecting rss feeds, specialised podcasts etc as the closest approximation of what they really want.
Seems to me there is a news-as-real-time-personalised-community-created-and-distributed model just waiting to be deployed. If it can deliver across channels (audio - for drivers, video or text via mobile phones to commuters etc, IPTV for the home consumer) then I would no longer have to sit through dull news that said nothing to me.
This requires more pervasive computing (ie mobile hooked up to my In Car Entertainment) for the audio model - but the mobile phone is busily leading us here anyway.
News would instantly be more engaging.
The consequences of this are important. If issues that matter to you can be more readily accessible it's but a small step to a more activated community ready to participate in the politics of their world.
Give people the tools to engage with information they care about and you are giving them the 'news' they need to participate in their world.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?