Only one person came to my session, but we still came up with the outline of an idea that could be revolutionary. I’ve been kicking around the idea of journalism as campaign for a couple of years and never publishing much because it’s not a well-defined concept yet. The gist is that the role of journalists is to cut through glut more so than it is to gather information and serve it up to people in some kind of farm-to-table model. That’s the old way. It struck me in hearing about omeka and in hearing about map building that the Digital Humanities is about both gathering hard-to-find information and cutting through the glut. You go find hard-to-find items. You find more of them than you need. You store them in the “basement” or some cool Indiana Jones-ish warehouse and then you put together exhibits of the best of the best or the most appropriate of the best based on whatever the exhibition is about.
So journalism (and filtering kid-oriented videos on YouTube) could do the same thing. Find too much of a good thing but certainly not all that is out there and then curate (journalists are falling in love with this term as if it were a new idea) the crap out if (heh, literally).
So that leaves the question of “How?” and that’s what our little twosome came up with during my maker session yesterday. What about match.com or lumelle (which I just Googled 15 minutes ago, tbh)? What if you filtered your “crew” first and then made a campaign out of your search for good stuff. Made the search a combination gathering and filtering effort with the goal of building a “filter pool” or something that sounds less “above-ground-ey.” And then from this pool of vetted resources gathered in a crowd-sourced or maybe even gamified way (this really smacks of MMORPG with little questing groups, right?), you’d get what you need based on some well-established parameters agreed upon when you start that can be changed but not easily.
So, what you’ve got is a platform for campaigns that can focus more on culling through huge amounts of readily-available stuff or that can focus on gathering really rare things – indigenous language oral histories, for example. And either way you get this pool you can use to make exhibits or news stories or playlists or whatever.
It’s social filtering, shared sourcing, and at human discretion. Algorithms are often biased based on the culture of the people writing them. They privilege popularity over quality. They can’t find what’s not already online and properly tagged or linked. All they can tell you is what everyone else is looking at and what the people you already interact with a lot are doing and saying.
Social filtering, human filtering is a tool that needs creation and refinement and the image shared above is a good pitch to get funding to make this kind of platform-tool.