Separating wheat from social media chaff
The New York Times
April 27, 2014
HOW CAN USERS separate essential content from the utterly disposable?
How can they intelligently organize and share the most interesting of the media ephemera flying past them constantly on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr?
The people behind Milq, a new website and app, say they have one solution: change the network.
Milq, which is making its debut on Monday after more than a year in beta form, lets users organize songs, video clips and other bits of media around common themes, resulting in something like collaborative mixtapes.
To do this, Milq has come up with something like a new atomic particle of online media: the bead. In contrast to the never-ending news feeds on sites like Facebook or Twitter, Milq is set up as a permanent collection of topic pages, or beads, each containing media clips posted by users.
One bead, for example, is devoted to smart uses of music in movies, another has great impressions by comedians.
Milq’s system then analyzes consumption patterns and ranks the content in each bead. One factor is the relative clout of whoever added it. A Jimi Hendrix fan whose posts are well received, for example, would get priority on beads related to Hendrix, guitars or rock, but not necessarily when it comes to film or fashion.
In time, a kind of consensus emerges on the quality of the content.
One quirk is that each bead is labeled a question, to emphasize the dialectic nature of the posts and their discussion: “Best Lebanese Indie Sounds?,” “Slowest Slo Mo?,” and so on.
The company’s three founders have notable credentials for such a venture. In the 1990s, Mr. MacKinnon created Hear Music, a retail outlet that Starbucks bought and turned into its record label. Mr. Poutanen, a software engineer, held top jobs at Microsoft and Yahoo. Jordan Jacobs helped create “Spectacle: Elvis Costello With ...,” an interview show on the Sundance Channel.
Milq is free to use, on the web or on iPhones. (An Android app is being developed, the founders said.) But the involvement of corporate sponsors and media outlets is crucial to its expansion. The plan is for brands to sponsor certain beads -- a car company, for example, might get behind one about driving -- and for media companies to add content and embed beads as a multimedia enhancement on their own sites.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/28/busin ... chaff.html