Here is a thought. Traditional newspapers are failing, and magazines are having their own “issues” to say the least. Trying to be relevant media in today’s world can be a tough ride. One online blog service called The Printed Blog is even attempting to provide targeted content based on location and user choices, via geo-targeting and content voting on their website. The idea is that the company custom prints papers for up to 100 unique locations throughout the Chicago area. The content published material will feature international, national, and local news, as well as blog content that is voted on by the web user base. The thought is that the content will be extremely relevant to its readers since each edition is uniquely created by users/readers for a specific area of town. I think that this idea is interesting and may extend the life of traditional newsprint. It’s cool, but not game changing.
What if I told you that an even better system for creating custom content already existed and is being used by millions of people already? A system that has several thousand editors dedicated to providing you with a completely a unique reading experience for each and every user. This system provides highly relevant content either on demand or in a steady stream that you just skim through at any time. This system runs 24 hours a day and pays the editors nothing for their hard work.
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. 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 the TweetDeck application 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 pertinent 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 Twittersteam and you have it all the topics and news covered.
It really is that easy and I must confess that Twitter is fast becoming my main source of all things to read, watch and listen to online. The other great thing about personalized content on Twitter is that if you throw out a question at your followers [editors] about a topic, you will always receive links and information that has been qualified by the user posting it. Let’s say I am looking for an article on viral marketing best practices. Twitter works like a personal research assistant and within five minutes, give or take, there will be four or five messages for me with recommended articles to read. Now if I Google it I have to qualify each result myself. In Twitter, the users that post answers to my questions share the same interests and may already have looked for a similar article. There are users (friends) who already know me and what I am all about, and therefore the four posts are usually much more relevant to my query.
Now, I am not claiming that newspapers and magazines will vanish in the next couple of years but rather how you find relevant content that interests you might shift. You will always need to have the source articles for the Twitteratti to refer to in the tweets. In fact upon further review this might also affect how some folks use Google. Some may use Google for broad and generic searches and use Twitter for highly qualified and refined ones. What are your thoughts on the idea?
I will ask that anyone that chooses to say that Twitter does not work like this will need to qualify the comment by proving that they have at least 100 followers and are following the same on Twitter. If you can’t then the comment is purely speculation and not from first hand experience. I ask this because that is the threshold of usage where this phenomenon takes effect.