Since the birth of the Internet, we are being told that in order to build a successful web site, one maxim has to be strictly followed: “Content is King”. It doesn’t matter, what the site is about or who is the target audience, if it doesn’t have any content, well, then it’s just some useless HTML code and not a web site. There have been some claims over the recent years that community has taken over this pivoting role, but all in all, communities are just a highly advanced way of producing more.. duh.. content. Well, maybe apart from one, silently praying for a Killer App to come and save us all from this flood of all this content. Where can I join??
The reality is that content has become the tyrant of our everyday lives, as so brilliantly described in a post by Sarah Perez on ReadWriteWeb. And this doesn’t apply to the people who have to check all this content-hugging services out for a living; each and every one of us who uses the web in one way or the other is affected by it. Just try finding a single news article on some topic or a corresponding conversation. Yes, you can Google, or look up the relevant tags on Delicious, or check the buzz out on Digg, or.. But each of these options would give you an overload of relevant articles from which you still have to choose. And don’t forget that you have to choose one of the myriad of searching/exploring services in the first place.
So do we need a Killer App to save us? The general opinion is while such an app would be useful from an ease of use point of view, it’s still far from a great solution. For one, bringing all of the content together in one place doesn’t solve the problem of it being rather unsorted and unfiltered, as pointed out in a recent Techrunch article on Web 3.0. One could argue that we should just stop producing all this duplicate content, which has actually already been proposed rather seriously on Publishing 2.0. But while such a movement is a great initiative, what I really feel we need is a sophisticated filtering system.
There is probably no way we could filter all the unwanted content out automatically without losing something potentially interesting (or new!). But there must be a way of filtering out duplicates that deal with the same topics from slightly different angles. One could then adjust such a filtering algorithm personally over time by giving it feedback so that it would learn our reading preferences to a certain threshold where we get a minimum of redundant news and also minimize the risk of having something new discarded. Might take some more serious thinking and doing, but doesn’t sound like rocket science to me.