Tagrss

Next-generation content management for newspapers (is in the making)

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Image: Howard Beatty by Flickr User Ann Althouse, CC licensed (by-nc)Steve Yelvington helps newspapers get the web. Newspapers have a hard time adapting the new ways of the web, what with all this user-generated content, changing consumer habits and dropping sales. It’s a huge cultural problem – traditional vs new vs social media – too. (And it’s not that newspapers, their editors or their management are stupid. Of course they aren’t. Still, they struggling.)

Working with Morris DigitalWorks, Steve is working on a next-generation news site management system. Quite a claim to fame, but both his track record and the few details he already shares back it up. So what’s different here?

We’re integrating a lot more social-networking functionality, which we think is an important tool for addressing the “low frequency” problem that most news sites face. We’re going to be aggressive aggregators, pulling in RSS feeds from every community resource we can find, and giving our users the ability to vote the results up/down. We’ll link heavily to all the sources, including “competitors.” Ranking/rating, commenting, and RSS feeds will be ubiquitous. Users of Twitter, Pownce and Friendfeed will be able to follow topics of interest. We’re also experimenting with collaborative filtering, something I’ve been interested in since I met the developers of GroupLens in the mid-1990s. It’s how Amazon offers you books and products that interest you: People whose behavior is the most like yours have looked at/bought/recommended this other thing.

That’s music in my ears. The whole thing is based on Drupal, which has always been strong on community features. Here, it seems, the whole platform will be aimed at creating mashups, drawing in RSS feeds, pushing them around and spitting them out. In the end, you should end up with a pretty lively site full of both professionally produced and user-generated content and commentary. Of course, by providing both input and output channels for RSS feeds, the data isn’t restricted to just the website, it lives on beyond, way in the cloud.

And the best thing: Usability-wise it’ll be aimed not at techies, but at editors. No major coding necessary:

Open tools and open platforms are great for developers, but what we really want to do is place this kind of power directly in the hands of content producers. They won’t have to know a programming language, or how databases work, or even HTML to create special presentations based on database queries. Need a new XML feed? Point and click.

That’s great news, and certainly a project to watch closely. Can’t wait to see the launch. October it is.

(via Strange Attractor)

Note: So far, the CMS code hasn’t been released under a GPL, but they’ve pledged to do so. All in good time.

Image: Howard Beatty by Flickr User Ann Althouse, released under Creative Commons (by-nc)

Protect your tweets – or don’t

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Recently I proposed to add a little Twitter feature, namely an indicator for why you protect your Twitter feed. (Why is this important? To prevent social awkwardness.) Tapio picked up on this issue and asked (among others) me:

You folks out there must have come across that situation: a new follower request comes in, you don’t know the person, what do you do? Simply deny? Feels impolite, doesn’t it? So here’s a meme: Why do you protect your Tweets (or not)?

Well, I’d love not to have my Twitter RSS feed indexed: So my 140 character ramblings wouldn’t be archived by The Google & co. On the other hand, all the cool mashups and extra services like FriendFeed wouldn’t work with Twitter, either. But so far, I figured the following: I’ll keep my Twitter feed public: That way, feed aggregators work, and it’s easier for new and old Twitterers to follow my tweets, i.e. to get in touch. To prevent awkward moments in the future, I’ll simply not write what I can’t stand by; and not post anything while annoyed. Both of which I guess are kind of good guidelines for any kind of communication anyway.

So back to Tapio’s meme: I’m curious, why do (or don’t) you protect your Tweets? Let’s hear from Markus (Twitter, blog), dotDean (Twitter, blog), Felix (Twitter, blog) and Michelle (Twitter, blog)

Twitter feature request: Protected updates options

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One thing that’d be really useful for Twitter: If you could signal somehow why your Twitter updates are protected. Some folks do it because they prefer to communicate within their circle of friends. Others do it so they can monitor who subscribes to their tweets – which is the only way of making sure that your tweets’ RSS feed doesn’t get syndicated all over the web. If there was a way to say what your motivation is to keep your tweets protected it might spare a many a moment of social awkwardness, non?

Widgets Are Your Friend

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Tony Hirst, author of this neat RSS manifesto and edupunk extraordinaire, produced this little gem of a pro-remix, pro-sharing, pro-widget rant:

changes everything we don’t care where it came from if it’s good enough for government business salvation but can you be RSS’d let someone else make it PORTABLE WIDGETS are your friend

(via Brian Lamb)

Subscribe-To-My-Twitterfriends’-Blog Day*

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Julia Roy, social media consultant and Twitter fan extraordinaire, says:

Everyone rejoice! It’s the day we show our love for our Twitter friends and subscribe to their blogs. If you Twitter your blog URL to me, I will subscribe. I have a folder in my NetNewsWire RSS reader labeled “Twitter,” I like to check once a week. I do this because it makes me feel more connected with those I follow on Twitter. My goal this year is to take the time and comment more and feel, even more connected.

I say: Great idea! So I’ll try to go ahead and re-sort my RSS feeds accordingly, too. It might take a little while.

Update: Still haven’t gotten around to really sorting through all my RSS feeds. And since I realized it will be a while until I get to go through all of them, here’s a brief list of hand-picked gems: