Storyful’s Art and Science of Real-Time Discovery – Feedly

Storyful’s Art and Science of Real-Time Discovery – Feedly

“We discover and verify the content from social media using our own technology and open source technology [editor’s note: including feedly!], monitoring the social web in real time,” explained Derek Bowler, Storyful senior journalist and special projects lead, who also helps lead the company’s internal work flows, processes, and tools.

Storyful’s ability to work together across timezones and continents is central to the value that they create. They have global offices in Ireland, Hong Kong, Australia, and New York, and each team works together in real time. “Collaboration is at the core of Storyful,” says Bowler.

Organize what you are monitoring into feedly Collection.

Storyful creates a feedly Collection for every story they monitor like 2016 Decision, funny videos, cat videos, ISIS, and more. It’s an easy way for them to follow multiple sources on the same topic in one place. And when they seem a Collection updating with many new articles, it often means that a new story might be breaking.

Create a diverse mix of sources with your Collections

When Storyful creates a topic to monitor, they carefully hand pick sources that include as many known YouTube accounts from that particular location, Facebook feeds from active posters, key Twitter accounts, and any relevant sub-reddits. They ensure that they have at least one feed from each channel, often many more.

“That’s a one-stop shop because a lot of things we see happening in social media are encompassed in those channels,” says Bowler. “We knew a year ago that if we were monitoring those four major social platforms effectively, we were not able to monitor the topic effectively. The best thing about feedly is that it allows you to bring it all to one place.”

When Storyful editors start to see some feeds updating with increasing velocity, they know that something big is breaking.

Create an archive

One way Storyful uses feedly is a bit unconventional: They use it as a YouTube archive that is easy for them to search through. They have over a thousand YouTube videos that they monitor. By connecting the YouTube feed to their feedly, it becomes easy for them see what is breaking, but also use search terms to find a relevant video.

In particular, Storyful likes to use:

  • FB-RSS – This tool creates feeds from Facebook pages.
  • IFTTT + Slack – Storyful relies on Slack for their team communication. So, they create Google Alerts that they import into feedly. And from feedly, they use IFTTT to push breaking articles into their Slack.

What do you use to monitor every day news?
Are their tools, tips, or tricks that you or your organization use to be the first to know something?

‘The Book of Lost Books,’ by Stuart Kelly – New York Times

‘The Book of Lost Books,’ by Stuart Kelly – New York Times

“The Book of Lost Books” concerns itself with two main subjects: books that have disappeared, either through negligence, deliberate destruction or the vicissitudes of history; and books that never got written in the first place. Ranging over authors as famous as Homer, Hemingway, Austen and Aristophanes, it also contains chapters devoted to non-marquee names like Widsith the Wide-Traveled, Fulgentius, Ahmad ad-Daqiqi and Faltonia Betitia Proba.

Each chapter contains abundant biographical information about the author in question, then proceeds to explain how one or more of his or her books was lost, stolen, mutilated, bowdlerized, incinerated or abandoned.

Kelly seems to grudgingly accept that we are lucky so much great literature has survived, but would be a whole lot luckier if cultural pyromaniacs had refrained from burning down the library at Alexandria once and for all nearly a millennium and a half ago, where the only complete copy of Aeschylus’ 80 plays had been housed for a thousand years.

Occasionally Kelly gets lost inside his sentences; it’s anyone’s guess what he’s ranting about early in the book when he repeats the accusation by Lasus of Hermione that Onomacritus might have been guilty of misattribution, nay forgery, in his edition of Musaeus. In other places, he can turn pedantic; discussing the language of the “Iliad,” he writes: “Predominantly in the Ionic dialect, it contains traces of the Aeolic, hints of Arcado-Cypriot.” Mr. Kelly: behave!

But these occasional lapses quickly give way to delightful vignettes like the one about a critic thrown off a cliff by “irate Athenians who objected to his carping criticism of the divine Homer.” Today, if anyone got thrown off a cliff, it would be for complaining about Oprah.

The Curse of Storage

The Curse of Storage

Our ever-growing collections of information and objects can lead to thoroughly modern crises that echo the past. Commentary by Momus.

I’ve been thinking about the parallel between object storage and information storage — apartments and computers — ever since visiting an interesting exhibition at London’s Barbican last month.

Future City looks at experiment and utopia in architecture over the last 50 years. I was particularly impressed by a quote from Japanese metabolist architect Kiyonori Kikutake. “A Japanese room is determined by information,” Kikutake was quoted as saying, “whereas a Western room relies on objects.”

I thought immediately of Kyoichi Tsuzuki’s photographs of Tokyo apartments. These tiny places (I lived in one myself for a year) tend to consist of an empty living space — typically a tatami-covered floor — surrounded by densely packed information-storage systems.

The information “saved” to these spaces might be clothes, records, knickknacks, magazines, toys — the obsessively collected, meticulously arranged, somewhat pointless “hard copy” of countless shopping trips. The tatami-and-futon floor space, meanwhile, is where processing happens.

There, the room’s occupant does his living, eating, loving, sleeping, thinking. This is the room’s RAM, its processor, where the present moment is all. Here the timeline of human attention scans through a book, a manga, a magazine or website, one page at a time.

Never one to pass up an opportunity to think of my lifestyle as Japanese rather than Western, I decided there and then to create a “Japanese” apartment in Berlin, a place devoted to information and the storage of information. My new apartment, after all, was on the small side. I’d have to resort to Japanese tricks and a Japanese sensibility to make it work. I had in mind not just Tsuzuki’s photographs of stashed Tokyo pads, but also a lovely book I have (it’s in a box somewhere) of photographs of Japanese writers’ rooms.
Continue reading “The Curse of Storage”

Blockwriter +

Blockwriter +

Alternate title: How to turn your computer into a manual typewriter. 

As we all know, the surfeit of distractions available on a personal computer these days can make it exceedingly easy to get nothing done. There’s the constant haranguing of emails, the intrusions of instant messaging, and the endless nagging of countless other attention-hungry applications and utilities.

In looking for ways to defuse this, I noticed a few years ago that some serious writers, at least in the early drafting stages of their work, were turning to manual typewriters as a method of sidestepping all of those distractions. It’s a great solution: what better way to thwart a computer than to step away from it completely? There’s no email to check on a typewriter, no beeps and pop-up reminders from other applications, and no access whatsoever to the Internet and its tantalizing abundance of productivity-killing diversions.

What’s more, a manual typewriter is a powerful antidote to authorial dawdling, that propensity to continually re-edit a sentence or a paragraph — thereby imparting the feeling of working without really working — instead of continuing to write new sentences or paragraphs instead. Unlike word processors or even the simplest text editors, manual typewriters don’t allow you to easily re-edit, insert and revise a sentence once it’s been committed to paper. This makes for an entirely different writing experience: the ideas come first, and the act of finessing them, of word-smithing, comes after all the ideas have been set to paper.

Why Hardware When Software Will Do?

At some point, it occurred to me that it really shouldn’t be necessary to purchase another piece of hardware to accomplish the same things that writers look to manual typewriters for: the ability to focus without distractions, and the ability to work in a mode that disallows excessive editing and encourages continued writing.

Neither of those things are beyond the capability of software, so why not just write software that does those things? I almost don’t have to write any more in this blog post and most readers will get the entirety of my concept: build an application that functions almost exactly like a typewriter.

For lack of a more marketable name, I call it Blockwriter. And because I’m no programmer and I’ll never get around to learning enough Cocoa skills to build Blockwriter for myself, I figured I’d just do what I know: throw together some mock-ups of the user interface to get my ideas across.

Draft Only

Of course, Blockwriter is intended only as a drafting tool, as it’s clearly impractical for the vast majority of text editing and word processing. To quickly knock out a rough version of any piece of writing that requires concentration and complexity, from a lengthy blog post to an article or even to a full-blown book manuscript, it’s the perfect tool. It provides a very narrow feature set that keeps you on task, along with one-touch methods of shutting out the rest of the system. And it’s a lot less bulky than a typewriter.

Alas, Blockwriter itself is only a draft. As I said, I haven’t nearly enough programming talent to make it happen. But I had a good time putting together the interface — more and more Web sites are referred to as “software” these days, but designing a desktop application is an entirely different experience, even a faux one like this. So the hour or two I put into Blockwriter was an interesting foray into a different kind of design. What resulted isn’t perfect, clearly, but maybe someone will find some of these ideas interesting enough to build it for real. I can’t imagine it would be particularly hard for anyone who’s comfortable with Cocoa.

This Means This, This Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics: Sean Hall

This Means This, This Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics: Sean Hall: 9781856697354: Books –

Semiotics is the theory of signs, and reading signs is a part of everyday life: from road signs that point to a destination, to smoke that warns of fire, to the symbols buried within art and literature. Semiotic theory can, however, appear mysterious and impenetrable. This introductory book decodes that mystery using visual examples instead of abstract theory.

This new edition features an expanded introduction that carefully and clearly presents the world of semiotics before leading into the book’s 76 sections of key semiotic concepts. Each short section begins with a single image or sign, accompanied by a question inviting us to interpret what we are seeing. Turning the page, we can compare our response with the theory behind the sign, and in this way, actively engage in creative thinking.

A fascinating read, this book provides practical examples of how meaning is made in contemporary culture.

Do You Read Differently Online and in Print?

Do You Read Differently Online and in Print?

The Internet may cause our minds to wander off, and yet a quick look at the history of books suggests that we have been wandering off all along. When we read, the eye does not progress steadily along the line of text; it alternates between saccades—little jumps—and brief stops, not unlike the movement of the mouse’s cursor across a screen of hypertext. From the invention of papyrus around 3000 B.C., until about 300 A.D., most written documents were scrolls, which had to be rolled up by one hand as they were unrolled by the other: a truly linear presentation. Since then, though, most reading has involved codices, bound books or pamphlets, a major advantage of which (at least compared to the scroll) is that you can jump around in them, from chapter to chapter (the table of contents had been around since roughly the first century B.C.); from text to marginal gloss, and, later, to footnote.

In the age of print, nonlinear reading found its most elaborate support in the “book wheel,” invented by the Italian engineer Agostino Ramelli in 1588: a “rotary reading desk” which allowed the reader to keep a great number of books at once, and to switch between them by giving the wheel a turn. The book wheel was— unfortunately!—a rarity in European libraries, but when you think about all the kinds of reading that print affords, the experience of starting a text at its beginning and reading all the way to the end, which we now associate with “deep” reading, looks less characteristic of print in general than of the novel in particular: the one kind of book in which, we feel, we might be depriving ourselves of something vital if we skipped or skimmed.

The quality of digital media poses one kind of problem for the reading brain; the quantity of information available to the wired reader poses a different and more serious problem. But it’s worth noting that readers have faced this problem before, too. Gutenberg printed his first Bible in 1455, and by 1500, some 27,000 titles had been published in Europe, in a total of around 10 million copies. The flood of printed matter created a reading public, and changed the way that people read.