08 October 2009

A Look Ahead from `Oasis of Optimism'

Last week's Online News Association convention in San Francisco (see post below) was "an oasis of optimism," reports Jacqui Banaszynski, a long-time journalist and currently the Knight Chair in Editing at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

The crowd gazing at the relatively near horizon identified a variety of "Web 3.0" tools and trends that seem to hold enormous promise for journalists. Banaszynski summarizes a few of them:

* GoogleWave, which observers think could be the next ... well, Google. ChicagoTalks.org publisher Barbara Iverson says Google’s soon-to-be-released real-time sharing tool is "the latest blockbuster in the communications journey that has taken us from phone to Napster to Facebook to Twitter," Banaszynski reports. "It will apparently make the hiccup of time spent waiting on Twitter or IMs seem limiting."

* Facebook Connect is seen as a powerful tool for building online communities around a product or message. It will let people log in to a website directly through their Facebook accounts. Those users will then have real identities, which the optimists say should boost transparency, accountability and even civility.

* Twitter, "already the stud of the online world, is taking steroids," Banaszynski says. Co-founder Evan Williams mentioned three specifics: Twitter lists to let you more easily aggregate and organize the Twitterverse, as well as send group messages; location information embedded into every tweet; and a still-in-the-works “reputation system” designed to make tweets more transparent and verifiable.

Other predictions include more video, less podcasting -- and a surge in online initiatives by and for women.

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