New release scheduled to go online Sunday Aug. 9th

We will deploy a new improved version of foldier this coming Sunday (August 9th).

The site will be down for maintenance starting at 9:00 a.m. PST until around 11:00 a.m. PST.
We will post updates here when the upgrade is complete.

The foldier team.

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Categories: foldier Tags: ,

Aggregation vs. journalism ?

August 3, 2009 1 comment

I was having a conversation with a publisher of an independent publication.  He said that “my employer and you guys at foldier are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.”  He meant to say that aggregation and his contributions to the world were incompatible.  His attitudes irked me.

Aggregation has been labeled as parasitic, preying upon the newspaper industry.  AP’s and other new sources view point compile information and contribute their own opinions and attach a value to it.  These people fail to see the mutually beneficial relationships between the aggregators and publishers.

Personally, I aim to gain as much attention from this website and to my own writings and musings.  If anyone ever re-tweeted or linked to my website, I would be touched.  I make no money on my writing, but continue to write regardless.

Journalists rightly feel an ownership of their writings.  Aggregators never want to present it as their own information.  They attempt to draw attention to valued pieces of writing.  Aggregators complement the original content as being worthy of being read.

Aggregation as contextualization

The fact remains that there are so many different viewpoints on a topic that a journalist would have to publish a book concerning any subject to capture the entirety of an issue.  A writer that want to complete a simple piece about the importance of the protest after the Iranian elections would have to give context to the history of Iran, Iranian-American politics, Iranian and global relations, demographics of the Iranian population, etc. That context would be aggregated content from other sources.

Furthermore, bias within journalism runs rampant.  Matt Taibbi was singled out for his Rolling Stone articles where he blamed so many financial institution’s greed (particularly Goldman Sachs) for our present economic debacle.  Everything Taibbi wrote seemed to make sense, but the article showed only one side of the story.  It is simply too easy to blame one or multiple financial institutions for what is occurring.  Any student of history will tell you that no matter how simple a cause seems for something is there are deeper more complex issues at hand.

Aggregation done well and from an edited perspective can add depth to an issue.  If I had enough time, I would read both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, watch MSNBC and Fox News, and somewhere in the middle of what is being said and reported I would find a grain of truth.  However, aggregation does not rely upon a certain news network, news organization, talking heads, or time constraints to provide the depth necessary to find answers to today’s questions.

Aggregation without compensation

The major issue about aggregation is the lack of compensation.  There have been many articles written exploring the poltics and economics of free.  Bill Maher wrote on the Huffington Post (a site that use a lot of aggregated content) a piece decrying that seemingly everything in America must make a profit or is considered a failure.

Simply put, no one told newspaper or magazines to publish their material for free. To my knowledge, no one put a gun to newspaper owners’ and demanded free news. Conversely, it seems patently unfair for an outside service to co-opt ideas, words, and in some very rare cases art for profit especially without even mentioning the original source of the content. That is not aggregation – that is stealing content.

Shifting towards a symbiotic relationship

Newspapers should not silo away information only for those willing to pay a subscription fee.  Information from different newspaper around the world enrich the public discourse.  The average reader may be faced with the dilemma of sacrificing the excellent writing of the New York Times or the political insight of the Washington Post.  However, the newspaper must have the incentive to continue to keep covering these issues and be compensated.  Beyond the incentive, they must have the means to continue publishing.

Somewhere between the benefits of aggregation and excellence of individual writers and newspaper, there is a compromise to be had.  Mirroring the differing opinions of politics lies the ability to compromise for the sake of perpetuation.

Mind the Bridge’s sPression: Using foldier’s technology to promote ideals

Mind the Bridge is an organization devoted to bridging the entrepreneurial spirit (and investments) of Silicon Valley to the untapped start-ups of Italy. Mind the Bridge has created a sPression that captures the news of innovation and entrepreneurship and utilizes the widget feature to display interesting news and content within the organization own blog: mindthebridge.blogspot.com.

At Mind the Bridge they use foldier to find interesting news about innovation, start-ups and entrepenurship. For example we get this YouTube video provided by 10 Downing St. “Celebrating Innovation“, or this interesting article “How Stanford’s Knight Fellowships are revamping for innovation” about how university-based fellowship programs can trigger innovation across the world. A must read!

The foldier widget in Mind the Bridge’s blog contextualizes the greater goals, interests, and ideals of this organization with the current news surrounding the main topic of their blog.

We at foldier share the goal and vision of innovation and entrepreneurship embodied by “Mind The Bridge”, in fact because some of us come from Italy we passionately support the mission of promoting and developing Italian best business ideas around the world.

We highly recommend reading Mind the Bridge’s sPression and blog.

The foldier team.

About foldier

Not a Twitter clone, or Facebook or a social network…
but we still want to be your friend

foldier

Recently, Read.Write.Web. (a fantastic read) published a review of a media-sharing site and stated it was not just another twitter clone. We, the little guys do not have space on important outlets to explain the details of our service. So let us be the first to tell the world, we are not another twitter clone.

We are an add-on, a cog within the greater network of services. Twitter, Facebook, Google or foldier alone is not enough. It is all about interoperability. While other companies attempt to take over the world, foldier wants to optimize the enjoyability of its users and their use of the many mechanisms of the web.

Here are a few of those features unique to foldier that will enhance your web experience.

An Aggregator

foldier is first and foremost an aggregator of information. Opposed to Google, Yahoo, or Bing!, foldier finds data not for the immediate interest but for the long term. Reading a single or newest article of a subject of interest does not quell and satisfy the entirety of that interest.

You describe the subject of your interest by enter few significant keyword and foldier finds source of information about your topic, so keeping you update on a constant basis. foldier brings articles, pictures, videos to you.

You can manage sources, such as blogs or newspapers that are most important to you and – with time – foldier will learn more about your interest and will suggest more sources you have not found yet.

The end experience is greater than a single search. It gives your subject a texture, depth, and well-roundedness. The experience is writing a thesis as opposed to writing a book report.

Furthermore, the bigger the communities the more sources that will be recommended to you.

Micro-Blogging & Blogging

If you want express/suggest some of your data or internet meandering to others, you can do it using sPression, very similar to a blog.

Like a blog, you can publish your own content. All you have to do is to connect Google Docs to foldier and you can publish text documents or spreadsheet or surveys or even graphs, if you are brainy type.

Of course every time you publish something you want your friends on Twitter or Facebook to be alerted. Foldier does that automatically of course!

An Online Tool for organizing your data

foldier is also a great tool to organize data online. Think of it as a file system for the Internet. Your data is housed everywhere within multiple services.

foldier links these services and indexes your data inside them. So you can start searching and organizing your own Internet. With smart folders (that is saved searches) you have a system that automatically filters new content within any connected source according to your predefined search criteria.

The Future

As foldier grows, so will its capabilities. We have quite a few great new features coming (wink, wink). The great discussions that could be had and presented by your sPress. Finally, we love your feedback more than most services. You – the reader of this blog – can shape the future of foldier, just do not call us a twitter-clone, we will take it personally.

The foldier Team

Twitter’s Future

twitter_logo

Twitter makes no money.
Zip zero. Nada.

It is almost counter intuitive that a service with approximately 2,173,121 users has no revenue stream. They have investors, but no means of generating revenue yet.

Within those 140 characters and 2,173,121 users, someone or company is going to bet that there is valuable and needed market research to be had. Wholefoods and Starbucks have used twitter for market research, but the aggregate information from twitter could present an easy snapshot of information, not to mention dissecting the information with various statistical analysis to present sweeping conclusions. Imagine having real time information for a reaction to TV shows or your newest line of Pepsi-Cola?

Somewhere in the not too distant future, twitter or some larger company who will purchase twitter will attempt to rectify the number of users to use information and generate revenue. Of course, this is no easy task just ask facebook or myspace. We want to look at a few probable outcomes for the future of twitter.

1) The buy-out option: This is a classic exit strategy. Build a huge user base without worrying about the revenues, sell the company and let the buyer solve that problem. Most recently, Apple has been rumored to want to buy twitter. Microsoft, News Corp, and Google have also been linked to purchasing twitter. Techcrunch recently wrote how Amazon would be a perfect suitor for Twitter. Each company could utilize tweets for various purposes. With the co-founder of Twitter recently announcing that he planned a completely separate start-up and buzz about companies approaching twitter for a buy-out, this option seems like the most likely presently.

2) The fizzle-out option: In this scenario Twitter is overtaken by a different service that offers better functionality and more reliability. The talk going for about a year or even longer is that Friendfeed will overtake twitter. Projecting catching lightning in a bottle is incredibly difficult. The major criticism of Friendfeed is how functionally seems exponentially more complicated than Twitter. The developers at Friendfeed have noted this criticism and have recently changed the interface to appear simpler. Technically, Friendfeed’s capabilities are superior, but that is inherently its problem. With twitter’s meteoric rise in the past year, it is possible to imagine it falling as quickly. We are nearing a seemingly apex of the influence of the twittosphere. There is a degree a palpable saturation with twitter. It seems to be omnipresent in today’s culture, so there can easily be a Myspace effect of disinterest. Joel McHale’s “The Soup” dedicated a segment to Twitter’s cultural effect in television.   Finally, Google has announced Google Wave.  Twitter has been a buzz about it and is currently the third most tweeted about phenonmenon.

3) Absorption option: Twitter is absorbed into other services much like the browser a decade ago. Facebook has already made one’s friend’s status the focal point for a user’s homepage. Facebook just recently they adopted a refresh page that the twitter home page does not offer. Nova Spivack recently wrote that Web 3.0 may be defined as a “stream.” If Mr. Spivack’s theory were proved to be correct, Twitter may not be rendered obsolete, but would like become on of many “streams” of information. Twitter basic function could be replicated a thousand times over by different services and as it has so much commercial appeal would become common place and not unique to twitter. Twitter holds the obvious advantage right now with its number of users.

4) The API option: By now, you are familiar with Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop. These are just two applications that take advantage of the Tweeter API. In fact, there are many more out there. What if Tweeter started to charge a fee for the use of the API functionality? In this model, the customers for Tweeter are other companies that build consumer applications on top of Twitter. This is very similar to the model used by Amazon on AWS (Amazon Web Services). Twitter here offers a very simple API and very simple functionality, but what these API really offer is the access to the huge user base. Twitter has laid the foundation for an API that could be invaluable!

Predicting the future of twitter is next to impossible. They seem adamant in not selling, perhaps, they have masterminded a plan to unveil newer features to keep twitterers engaged and have a marketing plan all on their own like the new ranking system they are adding these days.

One thing to be sure of is the coming months for the owners must walk a tight rope risking over exposure, maintaining the simplicity of the service, adding new features as not to be stale, competition, and the ridiculously large sums of money if they want to remain relevant and be the sole owners of Twitter.

10 Good Reasons to sPress

  • Share what you’re reading with your friends
  • Comment on what you’re reading and be critical!
  • Learn more about the subject with foldier’s suggested reading
  • Finally use Google Docs as editor for your posts!
  • Neither Oprah nor your mom has heard of it
  • It helps making your feed on Twitter more interesting – it gets you followers!
  • It can drive traffic to your blog
  • You really have to read whatever you spress so it forces you to stay informed
  • It’s fun!
  • … And you look cooler when you’re doing it

Mara’s sPression about Cinema!

It’s not difficult to find interesting sPressions. We’re always looking. One that we have had our eye on for a while is Mara’s sPression about cinema. Mara has recounted her trips to various movies that have come out and provides us with a little review along with a trailer or a bit of the movie itself.

Mara sPression about Cinema

Mara sPression about Cinema

Our personal favorite is “Who framed Roger Rabbit” or in italian “Chi ha incastrato Roger Rabbit.” We have not viewed “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in a very long time, but it remains “un classico” in Italian or in English. Personally, we love the translation of the character voices from English to another language and see how if it does change the movies interpretation or not. Of course, Mara has reminded us all how great “Roger Rabbit” was in any language.

The foldier team