Newsmass or Real-Time Aggregators
The astute Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch has gathered up a collection of most of the sites in the relatively new space of Real-Time aggregation of blog content. Some are focused strictly on blogs and some mix mainstream press into the stream.
It seems that user interaction with this news, either in the form of comments, syndication, voting, etc., is the real feature being developed here. Everything else is simply a sort of “vertical” (to use a pre-bubble term) search engine focused on a particular arc of sites in the ethersphere.
I have collected these links in a del.icio.us tag called “newsmass.” It echoes not only the noun form of “mass” as sin size or amount, but also the verb form indicating the gathering of content. News is perhaps a little more specific than it should be as not everything in these sites falls under the journalistic definition of “news.”
These space interests me from a democratic stance especially. It makes it easier for that small blogger to get his, perhaps, compelling content read by more people. As the government of the U.S. seems to be working to limit our civic freedoms, it’s good news that everyone’s voice can be heard more easily. That’s an idealistic view and a more visionary goal than pragmatic milestone, but I think that a driving vision along those lines could help one of these sites break out.
In the end, all of the movements so far in what I begrudgingly call Web2.0 seem to have been toward user empowerment. That’s not my definition of Web2.0, but it does serve as way to get my head around the concept. If any of those tools get the information to the masses that the mainstream media continually ignore, like the Downing Street Memo, then they could all be doing a great service.