At Thursday’s blog meeting, Critt Jarvis gave a terrific tour of and introduction to Newsvine, a very sophisticated community news portal. Erica put a lot in the notes, so I won’t go into detail here. What makes this site so special is the ability for people to submit items (kinda like blogging), tag them, view others’ news, and view news in broader categories (though it is very geographically focused).
(Manila ate part of this blog post. Let me try to reconstruct it.)
All through Critt’s presentation, I kept wondering if what makes this site so special is really all that special. Is it unique? What’s different about this site that makes it better than a regular blog platform or other community news portals? The layout, the ability to chat with online users, perhaps. Some people in the room discussed how easy it would be for spammers to hijack the system. That’s not to say it lacks safeguards: it just seems like a tool spammers would love to get their content into. Public relations and marketing folks could really benefit from it, too, because it’s easy to post content, tag it so it’s found (even if the tags don’t have to do with the posts), and keep the content on visible pages. Perhaps they have people policing the site to report and control such inappropriate uses.
When I get my computer back, maybe I’ll be able to take a look.
Addenda 2/24: I woke up this morning thinking about how Newsvine’s value, like many other networking sites, is based a lot in the community. For me as a someone seeking news and information about topics related to news librarianship, it doesn’t seem too worthwhile for me to get involved now because it doesn’t seem to have a lot of the news I want. If I can convince, say, twenty librarians and information professionals I know to join the site and start contributing to it, the value of the site increases for me because they might contribute the kind of news and information I seek.
2/26: The more I think about Newsvine, the more it seems like a blogging community with the advantage of being able to search for posts based on topic and geography, not just by user.
10/15/07: The correct link for the notes from the original Thursday is: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/bloggroup/02232006-meeting-notes/. The Thursday Meetings at Berkman blog got a new URL with the switch to WordPress in the spring of 2007.