ThoughtStorms Wiki

I answered a question on Quora :

Perhaps a confused notion of "personalized news"? Facebook and Twitter (and my RSS aggregator) give me personalized news. And they haven't failed.

Beyond news by and of people I care about, there's a contradiction. The main value that a commercial news company provides is editorial filtering of the "unknown unknowns", things I don't know about but should. Yet "personalized" means that I'm meant to take over filtering responsibility myself. So what value does the news provider still provide?

Of course, my filtering tools include everything from my RSS aggregator to Google to Digg / Hacker News to Twitter search engines to my twitter community etc. I'm sure a clever startup could be successful improving on any of these parts, or in finding new ways integrating them together.

A couple of pitfalls though.

1) Some things that work for an engaged community of geeks may not work for another constituency. StackOverflow works brilliantly for programmers. Could the same thing work for lawyers? In theory, there's a huge body of knowledge that lawyers would benefit from sharing. In practice, I don't see that the culture would let it. Similarly, I don't know if a "Farmer News" would work as well as a "Hacker News" (though I'd love to see it tried.)

2) Most people's idiosyncratic tastes don't create large enough data-sets for statistically interesting analysis. It's one thing to sample what everyone says on twitter to extract some kind of idea of what's globally "interesting". But you can't prioritize what's interesting to me by applying the same algorithm to the 100 people I follow.

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