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Hypergene MediaBlog » Heard it on the Newsvine: First impressions

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Friday, 06 Jan 2006

Heard it on the Newsvine: First impressions

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We’ve been waiting patiently to get to peek at Newsvine and tonight we got our chance.

Newsvine offers a refreshing philosophy that has been missing in online news sites: Let the story not be an end in itself but a starting point for conversation and aggregation of content and different perspectives.

It’s not just a slick looking news site. It’s a site that depends on your participation. On Newsvine, you can not only read stories but comment, vote for, suggest stories from the web (seeding) or, if sufficiently motivated, write your own.

It’s a similar idea that we wrote about in Amazoning the News in 2001. Though the idea has made the rounds to newsrooms around the globe, Mike Davidson and team are unique: They did something about it:

"Amazoning The News is something my boss at Disney showed me about three years ago maybe, and you could actually consider it the first seed for this idea… It was the first article I read which got me thinking along these lines.”
Mike Davidson

To get the party started right, Newsvine is encouraging members to invite 20 of their friends. As an inviter, you are eligible to receive 10% of the ad earnings of any traffic they generate.

The idea is to quickly grow a community of quality news junkies. To do so, Newsvine assumes you’re a good egg who can vouch for your friends:

...by inviting someone into Newsvine, you are implicitly endorsing them as a potential positive member of the community.

The lively chat discussion that ensued shortly after the announcement provided a little more clarification (some comments removed for clarity):

Ben Bakhshi: what do you guys do when spam starts flowing through the chatrooms?

Newsvine Team: We don’t let spammers into the system in the first place.

Ben Bakhshi: I like the idea of having a trusted network of users that you can listen to in a
chatroom and ignore new users in the chat.

Ben Bakhshi: I could be a spammer though

Newsvine Team: And then your account would be deleted and that would be that.

Christopher Woods: :whipcrack:

Newsvine Team: Along with everyone you invited.

Brian Fox: Woah.....

Ben Bakhshi: So invite only forever then?

Newsvine Team: We’d sure like that.

Jeff W: Dont mess with newvine

Christopher Woods: Ouch, that’s punishment :D also a great idea, that means you have x amount of people hounding you if you misbehave… I like it

hartless: what about whoever invited you?

Brian Fox: that could work to prevent spam...what if one of my invites gets banned?

Ben Bakhshi: once ive invited like 50 people that doesn’t make sense to cut them just because i turned to the dark side

Newsvine Team: If you’re a known spammer inviter, your account would be at risk.

hartless: nice

Newsvine Team: You are not responsible for who your invitees invite… just who *you* invite.

This hopefully will prove a better deterrent to the ugliness commonly found on Yahoo News posts.

Designing for quality of participation

The invite-only model does not rely on manufactured scarcity of reputation, like karma found on Slashdot. Instead, it encourages community quality control right from the start.

It might also solve one of the nagging disincentives to joining a community like Slashdot, which is the need to gain enough reputation before you can contribute meaningfully.

Newsvine offers members different levels of involvement (usable exhaust). If you’re interested in doing more than readin’ and taggin’, you can write your own stories not only for fun - but profit (90% of ad revenues you generate go to you - but not during the beta period).

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Another smart approach is the use of tagging to organize stories. Why online newsites continue to organize stories as if they could only be placed only in one of eight sections of the newspaper is beyond us.

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So long, Daily Me. Hello, Daily We

To counter another annoying phenomenon of rating-based editorial decision making - aka the “Digg” effect - Newsvine is planning to filter stories based on the likes of your associated groups and implicitly based on preferences like Watch this story.

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We think this is a vital feature for two reasons. First, in the real world people seek the opinions of those who matter most to them. Second, like Delicious, this turns Newsvine into a social engine of discovery.

Fears of a “Daily Me” have been unfounded. And if Newsvine and others can offer people the ability to easily plug into the interests and views of diverse “taste groups,” isn’t that a healthy thing?

Newsvine is News 2.0. It will change not only the kinds of news people will get but their relationship to it.

Related

Solution Watch has done an excellent first-take of Newsvine here.

Stowe Boyd shares his thoughts on Get Real:

A fully featured, web 2.0 era blogging community that includes reputation, ranking, real-time chat, tagging, and ‘seeding’, on top of a business model that encourages people to add their value to the swarm and to bring others in… looks like it is hitting many of the important buttons.

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Posted on Jan 06, 2006 | 4:34 am EST
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