A couple of days ago, I linked to a couple of interesting tweets from @timoreilly regarding Yahoo’s desire to own the start experience and the importance of relevance and social connectivity. Today I would like to illustrate that with an example and try to explain why I think filtering has the potential of changing how media is produced and distributed.
Here is what I saw when I opened my feeddo this morning:
As you can see, new articles from all my favorite sources have been analyzed and filtered based on both my personal reading patterns but also based on recommendations and annotations from my friends and friends of friends. The reason why filtering is important is that it allows the most relevant content to bubble on top and allows smaller fishes (in this case the emerging Louis Gray to get the prime location in my attention even if he does not have yet the reach and audience that a TechCrunch has).
This is not new: Digg and Techmeme have been pioneering the concept of filtering. Feeddo in this example and others around the web are pushing this concept one step further by allowing more relevance. More relevance because you can define the set of sources, topics and as importantly the social connections you would like to use to influence the filtering.
I believe that this is important because this new kind of filtering will allow smaller, more talented and more focused sources of information to compete more effectively for the attention of users and will therefore promote diversity.
If we fail, newer media outlets (like TechCrunch) will gradually and irresistibly grow to loose some of the core community feeling and start to look a lot like the Old media they were born to kill.
What is missing? The filters need to become more sophisticated and more importantly, Google needs to find a more innovative way to help boutique sources of information monetize their efforts (micro payment, sponsorships, better and more fun ads available in a self-service adwords-like model may be).