For a while now, I’ve been holding on to a few ideas for digital media in the hope of implementing them some day. But there’s only so much that one person can do, and I’m sold on the idea of sharing ideas. None of these ideas, in my opinion, is spectacular, and all of them might already have been implemented in some shape or form. More importantly, there isn’t a business model in place for some of them, but I do believe that these will add value to media organizations and perhaps civil society, or be an alternate to existing media models. If you implement any of them, do let me know, and I’ll gladly lend my support to the cause. We have an online media ecosystem to build – one that isn’t a copy-paste of print, but more digital, and collaborative in nature. Here goes:
Six Degrees Search
How about a website that identifies relationships between public individuals on the basis of media reports, and public information. Often, for journalists and bloggers, it’s difficult to connect the dots, and there are angles to stories that may not be very obvious.
For example, how would you be able to tell if a politician allocated an apartment in a building complex to his sons classmates father? For that the connection would be: Politician -> Son -> School -> Classmate -> Father. Or, lets take an example of sports and betting: Manoj Badale is listed here as a director on the board of Agilisys Managed Services Ltd. The Sikkim Government recently legalized betting on sports, and Agilysis got a license. Badale is also the co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals. Now this information may not be accurate, but all one has to do, is verify.
Most journalists today have to rely on “industry sources” for information, but if there’s smart indexing and surfacing of data, connections will be much easier to identify and explore: they might throw up quite a few red herrings, so this can’t be a replacement for the journalistic process. From a conceptual perspective, it is about identifying and mapping personal and private networks of public figures. The challenge is in mining the data, and there is danger of privacy being compromised.
Privacy issues aside, I got this idea while watching a demo of a data mining company, Tuple Technologies at EmTech India. Tuple was showcasing how their algorithm goes through public documents and media reports in order to identify connections related to Al Qaeda. Quite complicated, so for us, the interface needs to be simplified. The underlying implementation process may be similar to what is being used for something like Connect.in.com and Indiatimes OneClick, or it could be a search based model, with data from social networks also indexed.
P.s.: If you have ideas to give away – mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put them up.