When I was a child, I used to love Sea Monkeys. You'd just add the magic powder to a bowl of water and the next day you'd have tiny little baby sea monkeys swimming around. Starting up a social media news community in Facebook has always been harder, until now.
Beginning today, you can take NewsCloud's free, open source Facebook application platform and create a community site with news content from Twitter.
There are two big challenges to creating a community news startup. 1) Aggregating relevant, timely news content for your site and 2) Promoting and marketing your site. NewsCloud's new Twitter integration address the first challenge.
How It Works
You choose a topic for your NewsCloud Facebook application. e.g. Seattle or Baseball. Then, you create a Twitter List with Twitter users you believe do a good job of focusing on this topic area. When you set up your NewsCloud site, you can tell it to populate content automatically from this Twitter List. NewsCloud will appropriately filter tweets from news related sites (you can white list and black list sites to further control for relevance) and publish these to your site with links back to the Twitter users that posted the content in the first place.
You can see an example of this at The Needle, using our example Twitter list for Seattle. Your NewsCloud site will pull in content from Twitter users you choose and select stories that come from relevant news sites. You can create your own Twitter List, curating your favorite twitterers for your site topic or region. Or, you can use someone else's existing Twitter List. It's about as simple as growing sea monkeys.
We'd love to see you set up your own topical or hyperlocal community using our free, open source Facebook technology and give us feedback on this new feature. To be successful, you'll still need to promote your community actively, but this is a great way to leverage Twitter to seed your community with interesting and relevant stories from day one.
While NewsCloud also can automatically add stories from RSS feeds, we feel that using Twitter lists with members you curate is more effective at finding higher quality content. RSS feeds tend to firehose too many stories and are less personal. Also, the presentation of Twitter content on your community site highlights the personalities and profile pictures of each Twitter user. Whereas, RSS feeds are posted by a single user account.
This is a very early release of this feature. We're curious what you think about it. Please share your feedback on our discussion page.