Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The new Information

Information is being disbursed in entirely new ways now.  With twitter, RSS, and sharing capabilities, things have changed drastically.

It used to be the case that top-heavy news organizations would collect the information, and distribute what they deemed interesting.    Newspapers have a delayed distribution effect but allow you to skip stories you aren't interested in.  News television allows you constant news (or at least several times a day), but you don't get to filter out what you aren't interested in.

With the advent of the internet, news websites allow you to pick what you want to read about, when you want to read it, and as soon as they have compiled the story (as opposed to the next day).  However, this creates the problem of having to go out of your way to check the news sites for what is new, and searching for what is new on the site.  A person who is very interested in a particular topic (say, videogames) is likely to visit up to 10 (I did at one point) websites to get their news/review/preview fix, which is very time consuming (again).

Enter RSS
RSS, when accompanied with RSS readers, gave the spontaneity and full time of news websites the ability to be delivered like a newspaper.  When a news provider publishes an article, it will show up in your RSS reader, waiting to be read.  This eliminates you having to search for news.  Now, news is brought to you when it happens and only if it's something you're interested in.

Twitter and Sharing
With the advent of Twitter and its Trending topics, news has become social.  Now you can be fed news by people who you follow, having them act like filters for interesting news.  They decide what is interesting and pass it on.  And, if something is of great interest, it will likely become a trending topic, hopefully piquing your curiousity and spurring you into looking into it.

This new means of news sharing is unlike all that have come before it.  Now, the world decides what is interesting and relevant.  Your friends act as filters for other content, sharing news with you.  If you enjoy it, you share it with your friends.  This turns news sharing from a very structured top-to-bottom method, to a literal web, with side-to-side distribution.  It becomes an organism, where its actions aren't determined by some master control, but by the collaborative actions of its parts.  It's freaky and fascinating at the same time. It's predictable in the large scale, but unpredictable in the small scale.  It's great.