I’ve felt for a long time that every serious news organization and blog should have a river associated with their publication. The river would include the news sources that the publication “reads” — to give their readers a sense of the community they both belong to and the community they define.
It’s a simple yet incredibly powerful concept. As with all new concepts it will receive endless push backs (I’m seeing some incredible resistance to the concept of publishing content aggregated from feeds from all kind of organizations) but then it will be broadly adopted.
Our new tool is designed specifically to manage original and aggregated content. Not even in two tabs but on the very same page. Ours is not a river (also if you could easily create a river just by not filtering feeds), but the underlying concept is quite similar: share a unique view on your world by publishing a list of feeds that are relevant to you.
When demoing our enterprise collaboration tool, CQSpark, very often I’m asked if some of the pages built with our WYSIWYG tool using the aggregated content can be made public.
This lead us to consider building a version of the platform specifically designed to manage simple sites based on a mix of aggregated content (automatically tagged using Open Calais and/or AlchemyAPI), and original content posted by one or more editors.
So, here’s the first test site built using this new version of our technology, which we are calling CQSpark.NEWS: paolo.cqspark.com
The content of the two columns of the right has been aggregated from a list of feeds that I extracted from my aggregator, while the left column articles have been posted directly on the page using a very simple tool. This is how I see the page as an editor of the site:
The system is using CQSpark’s super easy to use sharing box, which is optimized to scrape/embed articles, videos, tweets, it supports drag and drop publishing of photos and files, and with one click also allows you to cross-post to your accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
I’ve always thought that aggregators a formidable tool not only to create personal streams of content but also to run public sites, with this new tool I think we have reached an excellent combination of ease of use and power.
Last week Euan Semple wrote an interesting post about his experience working with managers in companies:
Working, as I do, mostly with managers in their forties and fifties I would say that 90% are unsure of themselves online. Yes they are on Facebook and Linkedin, and some of them have Twitter accounts, but their use of these tools is predominantly passive. They are consuming rather than creating stories.
I think that the pressure that these managers feel is mostly due to the nature of today’s blogging style: while when I started 10 years ago blogs were mostly lists of links with short notes, today blogs are almost always collections of short essays. Like this one. And usually, with no links.
Luca De Biase recently wrote “nobody is linking anymore… the blogosphere is turning into a newsstand where everybody is pushing their own newspaper, not understanding that when alone they are weaker”.
In a corporate environment we should rediscover links as a way to narrate the world and enhance our point of view. That’s why we have designed CQSpark trying to make linking and sharing as easy as possible. You can post original content if you want to, but most of all you can share your unique perspective on the enormous amount of data which is flowing in front of all of us every day. In other words: you post links.
We are about to submit the first version of smartfi·sh (site under construction… we have been busy) to the Apple Mac App Store. If everything goes well it should be available for download shortly. Needless to say, this is all quite exciting.
I’m also working on another launch: next Tuesday at LeWeb London we will present CQSpark: come and find us in the Demozone 2, Pod10, if you are in London.
Last but not least, Friday and Saturday of next week we will run State of the Net, our own conference in Trieste. We already have more than 360 registered attendees, an awesome group of speakers and a pretty exciting program.
Meanwhile, my awesome partners at Evectors are working on some pretty exciting new Pages projects.