I have been using the ‘Share’ feature in Google Reader and the way it’s been implemented got me thinking that it’s like an omnidirectional web antenna of information with a limited range: it pushes any feed items I consider worth reading up to all my circle of friends.
However, very often when reading my feeds I find myself star-ing a news item and then sending it only to the person(s) I think would be really interested in it. The way I use Google Reader is more like a directional antenna: it provides a piece of actually relevant information targeted only to those who will really appreciate it. Obviously, this is just an estimate of mine and it is based on what I personally know about the recipients of the information.
So this insight perhaps holds a means of sorting through the noise: let your friends and acquaintances do it for you.
However, this is not the usual crowd-sourcing approach where, for example, a piece of software ‘blindly’ and en-masse suggests feeds with the same tags as the ones you’re interested in. Instead, this is accomplished by asking or… convincing individual people whom you’re acquainted with to send you stuff they think you specifically are interested in. The personal (even if online-only) relationship you share ensures better than any algorithm a highly targeted and relevant input for you.
Ok, so other than selflessness (which only goes so far), why should I bother sharing or forwarding an article with a friend or acquaintance?
First of all, once my friend receives or reads the piece of news, they should be able to let me know how relevant and interesting they found it. If indeed I have targeted correctly, I should be then awarded some sort of ‘points’. On the other hand, a mistaken estimate should rob me of points. Now, in order to keep the forwarding going strong and accurate I should have a motive for amassing points from correct targetings.
Example motives could include cashing in the points for hard cash. Money is a strong motive but transfers the question to who is offering the cash. It could be the company providing the service/infrastructure which in turn earns the cash from ads or a fee required from its users. Alternatively, another model could be based on allowing the creation of groups of friends who all initially commit some money in order to enter the group and which are won at the end of a period by the most accurate group member – something like a friendly competition which enhances everyone’s awareness.
Yet another more self-sustainable method would be that in order for you to be able to accept forwarded information from a friend you should have first done the same to someone else. In other words, by forwarding (confirmed accurate) information you collect points which you use to ‘unlock’/'allow’ (possibly) accurate information to reach you. And if the information you suggest is considered irrelevant by its recipient, then it costs you no points.
So what I’m describing is essentially the opposite of RSS (SSR?). Instead of one person publishing information towards a group of subscribers, a circle of friends is sending information to a single recipient. Anyone seen something like this in action?tags: idea
|Digg |||Del.icio.us |||Ma.gnolia |||Newsvine |||Technorati|