Home >  Archive >  2012 >  January >  30

Previous / Next

Passive vs active news reading
By Dave Winer on Monday, January 30, 2012 at 10:45 AM.

You hear this a lot -- I don't seek out the news, I assume that if something is important it will find its way to me.  #

The other day I heard a famous VC say he gets most of his tech news from TechMeme. Add in a smattering of news from Twitter, and that's it.  #

The problem with this approach, as I'm sure you know, is that you've given gatekeeper-like power to others. And they have their biases, conflicts, goals and business interests that keep some stories from getting to you.  #

And you've allowed them to define what "tech" means. Like most conferences these days there isn't a lot of actual technology on TechMeme. Again, not their fault. If you want a real tech river, we can create one. But TechMeme is what it is, and it's not technology-heavy. #

A picture named cashOnly.jpgI don't blame anyone for being a gatekeeper, just as I don't blame Twitter for bending to the will of governments that want to censor ideas that reach their people. So who or what is to blame? No one really. It's just that if you want to be informed, it involves more work than just accepting what the most powerful gatekeepers are willing to give you. #

Another example to consider is Facebook. No one outside Facebook understands how their algorithm works. How do they decide which stories you'll see and which aren't important enough for you? I suspect it has something to do with what will make them money, both short-term and long-term. How they decide is completely opaque. #

Here I practice what I preach. Of course, like everyone else, I delegate my reading to gatekeepers. But I have over 400 of them! When any of them pushes a story it shows up in my river. I'm sure you've seen this, because I point to it all the time, as a way of enticing you to create your own river, and share it with others. #

http://daveriver.com/ #

If you want to get one set up, you can do it for free for a year on Amazon EC2. Just follow the EC2 For Poets tutorial, and then install River2 on the server it creates. The whole thing takes about twenty minutes. And it's a unique experience, not like anything you've likely done before. #

I'd love to see tech pubs create rivers that include not only their stories but the stories of their competitors and individual bloggers. Remember the old adage, People come back to places that send them away. It's still true, and it works! :-) #

A picture named elephant.gifThere are all kinds of reasons to do it this way. Triangulation being the most important. Tech pubs will never accurately write about themselves, but sometimes they are part of the story -- hey sometimes they're the whole story (as in this piece). So you need a variety of points of view, and to know where they're coming from, to be able to piece together the whole story. In radio this is called triangulation. In classical story-telling it's the tale of the blind men and the elephant.  #

This site contributes to the scripting.com community river.

© Copyright 1997-2012 Dave Winer. Last update: Monday, January 30, 2012 at 11:33 AM Eastern. Last build: 1/31/2012; 10:22:01 AM. "It's even worse than it appears."

RSS feed for Scripting News

Previous / Next