The Potential of Social Media Tools and Data for Journalists in the News Media Industry
In 2012 the International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM 2012), held in Dublin, Ireland, focused primarily on cutting-edge research in social media. Most notably, the increasing influence of user-generated content in the newsroom was discussed.
As social media are becoming more and more relevant as a source of information, traditional media organizations are faced with new challenges. Aanyone equipped with a smartphone can now capture and publish events as they unfold. In many cases established news agencies are not the first point of call for information anymore. In order to stay competitive media organizations are increasingly depending on content from social networks to cover and present all perspectives of an event. However, they face one crucial question when it comes to using content from these networks: "Is the source reliable?" At this workshop, we discussed existing approaches and ways in which some of the prevailing challenges are encountered when developing new methodologies.
The keynote speaker, Katrin Weller, questioned whether Twitter is actually a social network. No, she states. Status updates on Twitter are covering all sort of topics--from popular culture to neuroscience, from intimate, personal details to major press releases of world-leading companies. In their totality, they can be considered as a giant but completely unstructured and unorganized knowledge base of what is going on. On the one hand this enables browsing and discovering new interesting pieces of information (serendipity effects). On the other hand it may pose enormous challenges to people looking for particular information. How can we access this rich resource of social content, which includes facts as well as jokes, observations, personal reports, emotions, and opinions of more than 140 million users? According to studies, Twitter is actually used for information dissemination and consumption instead of interaction. Research also shows that 47 percent of journalists are already using Twitter for sourcing new story angles. However, the trustworthiness of information remains questionable.
Two EC cofunded projects, Arcomem and Socios, were also presented at the workshop. One of the use cases in Socios is a web-based application for journalists that aims to make journalistic research in social media fast and easy. The application allows easier access to content across social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, DailyMotion, and MySpace) by aggregating content related to a topical search query. It also provides journalists with a range of added value functionalities (for example, social filtering, media item ranking, transaction negotiation, or event detection).
Arcomem aims to harvest, refine, analyze, contextualize, and preserve data from social networks on specific events for future use.
The primary lesson of the workshop came from Jochen Spangenberg (Deutsche Welle), host of the workshop: "Be the first, but first get it right." Because of social media we will, in time, have more citizen journalists. We will have more sources for news. But we should realize that the basic rules of journalism, such as confirming and fact checking, will always stay the same.
The chair of this workshop was Jochen Spangenberg. The papers of the workshop were published as AAAI Technical Report WS-12-01. This report was authored by Ruben Bouwmeester and Cosmin Cabulea.
Real-Time Analysis and Mining of Social Streams
The recent increase of real-time data provided by users on social networking services has leveraged an important gain in the real-time processing of social streams. Processing the streams in real time can help enhance search engines, news media, and many other systems by feeding them with fresh knowledge about current affairs. Performing such analysis in real time is of the utmost importance for early reporting of breaking news, events, trends, and any other knowledge related to current affairs. …