Not too long ago I shared an idea I had. Wouldn't it be neat if you could follow a news topic? I wrote:
Wouldn't it be interesting if you could just point to the article or video about the topic and say: subscribe to all articles about this topic. A topic-RSS feed. Of course you can do this for big topics, using hashtags in Twitter for instance. And you can also define a query and subscribe to that feed, using Google Alerts for instance. But for smaller topics it's not that easy.
Or am I missing something? Or do you know of apps that already solve this problem?
Well, it looks like some people at Google had the same thoughts. Recently Google launched 'Living stories'. The NY Times and the Google System blog ran articles about this new app. Currently it only works with news from two large newspapers: The New York Times and The Washington Post. But it relates well to my idea.
Think about what this could mean. We could be able to point to an article on the web and say: send updates on this news item when they show up. And we can take this even further: inside companies. For some topics a lot of time is need to make decisions. How often do we not forget about the topic that was interesting at a certain point in time? For instance, maybe you worked on a strategic plan. Before management actually decides to act on the proposals in the plan and start project, it could be months later. Say you could subscribe to the 'living story' 'strategic plan x'. When management makes next steps, you'll be updated. In the mean time you can focus on other stuff. By the way, this is also a great way to see if internal and external news gets any follow up at all. We forget so quickly. But to show and visualize all the 'next actions' or 'no actions' also shows if the promise that was made is lived up to.
What do you think about Living Stories? Do you see other ways it can be applied on the internet or inside companies? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Here's a short video explaining Living Stories.
[Picture by Hungry Hungry - thx]