From Eric Newton, Knight Foundation VP of Journalism:
Much summertime discussion, at newsinnovation.com, also at the Aspen FOCUS web page, and elsewhere, about the new ecosystems of news.
Heard Google's Marissa Mayer talk again about the "story" being the "unit of organization" in the digital news world. We think about news in terms of individual stories that we care about,'rather than the package of stories formerly known as the newspaper. A real insight.
Consider this: even a story can be big and complex. This made me think' there are units of organization even smaller than the story, as the human cell is even smaller than the human organ. Whatever point is being made within a story, whatever idea is being put forward, could be a unit of organization.
Was discussing it with Kim Spencer of Link TV .'Seemed to me'that an even more pure'"unit of organization" is this "moment of attention."
My oldest son provides'a good example of this. He'can situate himself in front of various electronic devices and organize himself so that:
--'several of his instant messages at any given moment are about the guitar he's playing,
--'several others are about the research he is doing for the homework he is doing,
-- several others are about the song he's listening to on his iPod (and trying to learn to play on the guitar)
-- and so on, until his "continuous partial attention" (credit Linda Stone, Microsoft) encompasses dozens of instant messages and four or five core activities all sort of mashed together.
When I come into the den,'he looks'up at me and says, "Dad, how come there's no TV in here?"
That's because someone has just messaged him about something on cable.
For my son, the cellular unit of organization is the moment of attention. Not the whole story, but whatever part of a story he's looking at -- wherever'his consciousness is fixed.
Combine that with the semantic web and you get some interesting'digital media ideas.
Can computers come to understand our "moment of attention' and build everchanging contextual frames around those'moments?
The pieces are there, with our click-history, wherever the mouse is, whatever's on the screen. The computer'can know what we've cared about in the past, what we are doing at the moment and what it is showing is in moving images and sound.
As intelligent agents''get smarter, they should be able to offer everimproving'real-time recommendations. Not' "because you bought this in the past, we recommend this" but more like "because you seem to be thinking or doing this right now, we recommend all of this..."
May well be that tomorrow's web pages may move around much faster than today's, sort of like the difference between high definition color video and the old black and white still photo.