There is something about human nature which makes us want to prioritize information by how recent it is, and that is the fundamental appeal of real time news monitoring. The difference between real time monitoring and regular news distribution is that real time taps into consciousness. That is why it so potent. You experience the world in real time./p>
Like a moth to the flame, we are drawn in by the attraction of the freshest information but when we get too much of it, we’re overwhelmed with the banality of everything by everybody at the same time. It’s like watching 20 movies all at once – perfect resolution saturates the senses.
What we really want is a way to zero in on the patterns that matter. Like the proverbial early bird, when you get fresh information that’s relevant and actionable, you can go further and faster on less. How do you monitor the hourly hum and look for emerging patterns in tracking current political news before they become obvious? That problem is as old as the weather forecaster trying to predict the coming of spring weather (without the ground hog of course) or the next Gordon Gekko parsing the financial news wires for tips.
When does gossip become news? In the financial industry you need to strike the right balance between moving on privileged information. If only a few people know something, it’s not going to move a stock – it has to be common knowledge in order for the masses to place their bets. In politics news, sometimes rumors become facts permanently unless there is a collective effort to clarify and set the record straight, and that still does not always work (see President Barack Obama and country of birth).
Finding relevant emerging patterns before they become trends that are the challenge. I’ve said it before, better filters is the next great algorithm war. We’ve all become enamored with twitter search which we all know is imperfect and self-selecting but compelling nonetheless. I think we’ll also find that getting real-time alerting right on a broader scale is going to be more art and less science.
Influentials Network was founded around the question of, “can you track and analyze consciousness, or can you only watch it pass by?” It is clear to us that in order to make sense of all the current political news and chatter, it needs to be ranked by order of importance as well as by time. That is what we try to do.