In February of 2009 I blogged about the fact that Twitter was becoming more and more a crowdsourced news editoral application for me. In the post I reviewed how I was using Twitter more as a way to source content and less about conversation.
Let me break it down:
I create a Twitter account.
Then I start to search for, and follow people with similar interests either personally or professionally. Or if you are like me, both.
Download an application like TweetDeck that allows you to group the people you are following into categories. using Twitter lists, not unlike sections of an newspaper; News, Sports and Entertainment, Technology etc.
In each of these sections I follow people that are either experts in their field or have a passion for athe topic of interest. Either way the posts will be relevant.
Now what do all of these people that you are following Twitter do all day? Well they post stuff. They post links to articles in newspapers and blogs, videos, music [http://blip.fm/all] and much, much more.
Breaking stories are now hitting Twitter first and I no longer have to wait for the old world media publishing systems latency to get the stories quickly.
The topics that are trending and are important globally can be easily viewed right in TweetDeck’s trending cloud tag.
Now because I have selected people based on similar interests and passions, the content that is posted, is for the most part ,very relevant to me. The Twitter base becomes my very own editorial staff picking only the best of the best and then posting it to your Twitterstream.
Now add the NYTimes, CBC, Fox News, NPR and CNN into your Twitterstream and you have it all the topics and news covered.
Since that post I believe that I have tweeted about 10,000 or so times. I guess I was a little off on the conversation part. Now for an update on how this has progressed over the last 1.5 years. There is no question that in recent weeks my outbound and conversational habits on Twitter have dropped substantially.
This is due in part for a few reasons. The first is that the agency has gotten very, very busy and there really is less time to converse with others in social networks. Second was the discovery of a very cool, but simplistic, Twitter app called Twittertim.es. Twitter Times is then linked to your Twitter account via it’s oath and then spiders all of the people that you are following. The application crawls your list and then pulls all of the great content, pictures and all, that is being posted in your stream. The page looks nothing like a Twitter stream and resembles an online news or magazine site. The app then weighs the importance of the tweeted links by the frequency that it is posted and re-tweeted by those that you follow. This is the crowdsourced editorial staff that I referred to in the past. Only this time around their commentary is diminished and the posted content is made more important. Sure the “postees” are listed at the bottom of each story but their conversational tweets are removed. As your day fills up with important activities it’s nice to be able to get the hyper relevant content, from those you follow, without being sucked in to the conversation.
Now let’s step that up even further with the announcement of the new iPad app called Flipboard. The application looks very much like a magazine but all of the content, like Twitter Times, is from your social networks. This time they have included all of the links in your Facebook, Flickr and other social feeds. In fact the crowdsourcing is upped in power but the fact that you can subscribe to user generated Twitter lists to create categories.If you look at the preview video below you can get a pretty good sense of how it works and how gorgeous it really is. I must admit that I was holding out for the second generation iPad until I saw this app. I consume a ton of social contributed media from the people I follow and would love to be able to take it with me and to view it in a much better UI.
Flipboard is not the first iPad app that is based on this concept and I suspect won’t be the last. The talented folks over at Teehan + Lax have a very cool looking iPad app called TweetMag that is soon to be released as well. There is now a race on and this is where I think social is really going in the next few years. I think this is bigger than geo-location apps to be honest. People really do want to know what your reading more than they want to know where you are reading.