From Reading to Social Online Forum

For this assignment, I was thinking more on how a natural scheme could emerge from reading a newspaper article. For example, the recent news article on South Africa xenophobic killing incident would surely generate lots of discussion. However, how can we leverage on the urge that readers would naturally respond to provocative news contents? Therefore, I aim to focus on a mechanism and a tool that could help generate such responses.

A potential theory for readers to gain traction with regard to a particular story is decentralized discussion versus viral phenomenon. While viral propagation is goes virtually with fewer deep discussions around the topic, meaningful discussions are nevertheless key to initiating grassroots movements. Therefore, my scheme would involve decentralized movement where people would start their own social media campaign trying to involve their immediately connected community members to discuss. If the contacted members find the issues interesting, they may likewise pass on the conversation. The aim of this social campaign is not mainly to optimize total number of people involved, rather, it tries to optimize total of actively engaged online users who may transform into further engagements revolving a possible resolution of the issue.

The following link shows a crude outline of what may possibly be a solution. First, a quick walkthrough of the website:

0. One needs to login to Twitter (or other social media accounts) and verify with app credentials

1. One first chooses a news article of interest

2. She should search relevant terms on Twitter for key phrases of discussion

3. She then starts a timed social campaign where she initiates the discussion through retweeting a popular yet provocative tweet or posting one of her own trying to contextualize through some hashtags. Within the timeframe allotted, she should generate certain volume of discussion with the amount of audience that meets the minimum level of public attention (say for example, 10 followers with average of 500 followers for each user -> 5000 potential viewership on the topic).

Steps 0-3 can be iterated for different individuals. At the end, we can aggregate similar discussions into larger discussions, naturally leading to virality. This is essentially a bottom-up approach to decentralized civic journalism. The website tries to reflect the above line of thought.

* site only tested on Chrome with 2650×1600 sizing (unfortunately not dynamic layout), so viewing experience may be affected.