The more you spend time on social media, the more you realize that the medium sucks your time. Besides discovering content as of now is an impossible task, since there is so much noise in the medium. In fact, time and again, startups and networks have tried to build products that are intelligent enough to bring you content that is either liked by you or is of higher importance. From standalone mobile apps to networks, everyone is trying to grab a share of curating stories in various forms from social media.
Quite recently Scroll.in, the online publisher launched in early 2014, jumped into solving the same problem of curating stories with SocialWire. The objective for the publication is to reduce noise and bring out the ten most influential stories of the day from social media by looking at the signals on the web. “Every day thousands of news items and social media posts are published – how do you find in all this noise the few stories that deserve your attention? That is the problem SocialWire sets out to solve,” says the publication on its blog.
From the time Scroll has come into existence, it has not only gained credibility in creating strong editorial thought pieces but also stressed on having a strong technology to back the content on the web. Over the years the strong machine learning and tech team has been working on few products and SocialWire is the first consumer facing product powered by tech and editorial team, informed Samir Patil, Founder & CEO Scroll Media Inc.
“For me SocialWire is an article that is automatically produced for a reader who is not always present on social media. We have built a product that will give a summary of what’s going on and important specially on social media. The idea is also to save your time.”
On a day-to-day basis, Social Wire brings you the most influential stories in seconds by presenting a dynamic list of ten. At the background, Scroll Machine is the intelligent technology brain that is identifying stories for the readers. The Machine starts with a list of influencers identified by Scrolls’s team of editors, the algorithm then crawls through hundreds of thousands of users, stories, and shares to expand this list and identify the most influential. Stories are updated every few hours.
However, Social Wire isn’t just a pure play of machines, editorial team also plays a role to make it effective. Before answering the question Samir takes one step back to share three canonical ways in which engagement happens over content.
“One is the Google News approach where curation happens on popularity. The limitation is that a big news like the launch of iPhone 6 will kill a smaller news of earthquake in a less popular country. The second way people are engaging with content is with the Facebook feeds which works on collaborative filtering and is driven by what social friends share and like. The limitation here is that you listen to voices that you agree with.
The final one is the editorial view of the world that defines headlines of a TOI or News York Times and Scroll is committed to the third one, even the Social Wire is managed by a very light touch editorial team.”
Sharing insights on how the editors work with Social Wire, he informed that they pick the influencers. He believes that the algorithms must be understood and managed by editors. “Social Wire is being made interesting with the help of editors.”
Secondly, the team is giving importance to selecting the right influencers who drive credibility on a certain subject. This is one of the toughest job simply because today on social media almost everyone calls themselves an influencer on certain subject.
SocialWire is scaling up in the coming future, so will the manual editing be a challenge for Scroll? Samir isn’t considering that to be a problem. However, he feels that beyond personalization the big challenge for a publisher today is discovery. “Search – a form of personalization, is a solved problem but discovery is an unsolved problem.”
In the coming days, SocialWire is planning to patent itself while coming up with a version two and going forward it will bring more influential and important stories from different categories by identifying a wide variety of influencers over social media. “We are not only unique in India but globally too, with a product like SocialWire. I don’t see anyone else pushing the use of social media signals which is driven by editorial and technology, to this extent.”