I'm so happy to see so many find their way to #socialweb so early a Saturday morning (see previous post for twitter feed).
Using Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 tools for investigative and in-depth research
Colin Meek: Web 2.0 tools fantastic tools for journalists to monitor their beat, especially Delicious.com. Not like Facebook where you can only network with people who'll accept you as friends, with Delicious you can follow all people whose bookmarks you like. You effectively create a network of experts who monitor your beat for you (see Colin's slides on this here)
Furl: archives copies of entire page, delicious saves links, furl saves entire pages.
Track breaking news with Twitter. People often twitter about events as they happen or straight after, remarkable tool. California wildfires a breakthrough for twitter coverage of events. Covered this here
# developed as way of tracking an issue on Twitter. Twine and Twemes add additional functionality.
As a reporter you should really use all of these tools to help monitor your beat
Colin: "I'm getting fed up with all this fuss about information overload. What's the fuss? Yes, there's information overload, deal with it. If you feel overwhelmed you're not using RSS - and if you are using RSS you haven't set your filters properly."
Search social networks
Use advanced Google operaters to refine your Google searches. Use Google to search socialnetworks such as Beebo: site:Bebo inurl:memberid inurl:Bebo (see Colin's slides on this here)
When using advanced operators you have to think differently, have to think like the documents you are trying to find, do what some call forensic surfing. Big privacy issues connected to all the info you can find using these search techniques, but we can do it because we are professional journalists, can use this information responsibly - but big concerns related to this.
The Semantic Web
"Social media sites are like data silos" said John Breslin when Colin interviewed him for Journalism.co.uk .
The semantic web is about linking up different clouds of information, has profound implications for journalists. Practical consequences of semantic web: can search Twitter, Facebook, Technorati, Bebo etc simultaneously. Will be like a snowball, once people get used to this, will come to expect it and think what's the use of say Twitter if it doesn't allow you to do this.
Twine makes searching much easier, just released from beta.
Semantic Radar is a free Firefox plugin to alert you when you come across a website where the metadata underpinning the semantic web exists. Headup another application that layers useful information on top of the page you're using.
Indice and SWSE search engines worth knowing about, but need to be semantic web expert to use them really efficiently.
Don't know of anyone using this for search yet, but think it will come.
Open Calais another interesting application, a smart way to tag (or keyword) your archive in a way that makes sense to the web (developed by Reuters). Search Monkey is Yahoo's foray into the semantic web. These kind of sites and the technology underpinning it are something we'll see more and more of, but the privacy issues connected with this are huge.
Do people know that some of their information may end up on the semantic web, say if they choose the wrong privacy function on Facebook? Journalists need to keep talking about the implications of this (See Colin's slides on the semantic web and journalists here)
Anders Brenna to Colin: Isn't one of the biggest problems that media is so far behind on everything that's happening, so behind the curve? Colin agrees completely, says: What sets journalists apart from citizen journalists and bloggers is a certain skill set: like investigative skills, training in ethics etc, that's what sets journalists apart. I believe this is what can save the newspaper industry and something the industry should invest more in.
Update 29 October 2008: I've blogged my notes from my talk this day on "Using the social web: an introduction to distributed conversations and the benefits of beat blogging" here.