What is NewsScape..?
NewsScape is an information engineering project with the aim of organising Facebook content - and then the internet at large - by topic channels. It started way back in1994 at the dawn of the internet with infoHIGHWAY - and even then it was obvious that the coming information Tsunami was going to pose entirely new challenges for all media.
NewsScape does not set out to be an encyclopedia; it is a federation of topic channels where friends, acquaintances and strangers can gather to engage in an informal exchange of ideas and opinions on random topics. Some posts are posed "contentiously" in order to wake up the discussion, and some are unashamedly designed as crowd-pleasers.
Each topic channel is a Facebook page (not group, although channels may also have associated groups) which follows a simple and obvious nomenclature. Channels can be added (or removed) at any time as required.
The "root page" lives at https://www.facebook.com/newsscape/ and there was a rolling directory at https://www.facebook.com/pg/newsscape/about/?ref=page_internal - but Facebook has been moving its goalposts again, and has apparently removed this feature. There is a suspicion that this may have been done to specifically limit the ability of NewsScape to take advantage of Facebook to propagate itself without paying for advertsing. Whatever - we have been planning to set up a parallel publishing platform and move away from the precarious dependency on Facebook, but that project will have to wait until we can find a sponsoring partner.
As with a classic DNS (Domain Name System), there is no practical limit to the number of these channels (or "addresses"). The skill of NewsScape curation will be to minimise the number of channels required to create an overall information browsing environment - ie the "NewsScape" - that can collect the most significant content in the smallest number of channels. As well as topics, channels can be established on the basis of location - eg Isleofsark.newsscape; Chelmsford.newsscape etc
The simple idea is that channel curators and editors share items they find scattered around the web (not just facebook) into the relevant channel or channels. Some items will be relevant to more than just the obvious topic - such as the digest channels of theweek and thebestof. The non-facebook platform design has always included broad scope for smart advertising, where the user retains control of personal data and is rewarded for attention and participation.
We hope to keep this process substantially human-influenced. There are many automated algorithm-driven search, scrape, gather and compilation systems - which have some value, but all tend to lack the spontaneity or "managed serendipity" of results where humans are involved.
The ability of the human brain to parallel process disparate ideas and information - whilst also remaining open to eclectic suggestions and distractions in a rich content/target environment - is something we are keen to reflect in the way that NewsScape operates.