Trend for 2011: Collaborative story-telling on social media

For the January edition of UBC Reports, entitled The Next Big Thing, I was one of the UBC researchers asked to look ahead to trends for the coming years.

My contribution considers the potential of collaborative story-telling via social media tools such as Twitter, where we tell stories together, one tweet at a time.

Journalism surrounds us. Much of it is, literally, ambient, and being produced by professionals and citizens alike. Citizens – the former audience – are committing acts of journalism as they share experiences, photos, videos and links on social media services like Facebook and Twitter.

The major challenge facing ambient journalism is that so much of it. But fears of information overload are no new. In fact, similar concerns emerged as thousands of books were published thanks to Gutenberg’s printing press.

We are at a similar stage with social media. Traditionally the journalist has been the mechanism to filter, organize and interpret information and deliver the news in ready-made packages. But the thousands of acts of journalism on social media make it impossible for an individual to identify the collective sum of knowledge contained in the micro-fragments. Instead, researchers are working to develop media systems that can process, analyze and contextualize the data.

In 2011, we can expect a range of new tools and services vying to be the best in negotiating and deriving meaning from these streams of connected data.

Read the full piece at UBC Reports.