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Picnic 2007 Review of the tools

Mobile posting: Picnic Aggregator flyer
Supersize aggregator flyer

Every serious project needs an evaluation and so does the Picnic aggregator. The VPRO-crew interviewed everyone who had something to do with the aggregator about what the liked or didn’t like about it. The ‘review of the tools‘ is a collection of video and related discussion (see the videos below, sorry it’s all in Dutch).

What I personally liked about the aggregator was the enormous amount of information that was created over the last days. The most difficult thing – from the start – was to sort all this information. I build a simple interface to make it accessible. The aggregator proved this interface wasn’t enough to sort signal from noise.

In an aggregated environment information is fragmented. The strong idea behind the aggregator is to give everyone the freedom to use the service they feel most comfortable with. API’s and feeds make it technically possible to aggregate. The problem is how do you design an interface that keeps the flow of information structured and connected. A machine doesn’t know how to do this unless all the information is labeled.

And aggregating it did
I think you could compare the aggregator to a news wire service. The reporter out there only knows what he or she sees on sight plus his or her personal knowledge. The reporter sends fragments to the news-desk(aggregator), the place where all the information comes together. There are also other reporters(users or systems) who collect information, sort it on relevance and give meaning. If there is a black spot in the story the news-desk(aggregator) informs the reporter what is missing.

The aggregator covered most of this cycle, except one thing. It collected all the information and gave partial feedback about missing information (mostly through Twitter). What it didn’t do was organizing, sorting and giving meaning to information collected.

This should be done the next time, how isn’t important. There is this giant pool of everything. You can make your story in the end of the day searching the archives for quotes or media. Or viewers can sort using voting and bookmark systems. You could even appoint a human editor.

The aggregator was a great success. It aggregated, distributed and made people create and communicate. It transfered the conference vibe to the web. Which should be a goal for every conference, this is how you make people sign up for the next event. If only the aggregator could give meaning to information.

Vincent Everts (PCZapper/Interimic) about Twitter and Gabcast.

Jaap den Dulk (Daadpracht) about Twitter

Mathijs van Abbe (Van Abbe IT) about Mobypicture

Leonieke Verhoog (VPRO) about Netvibes and Tumblr

Gertjan Kuiper (VPRO) about VPRO’s Picnic Aggregator: picnic07.vpro.nl

Roeland P. Landegent (TodaysArt) about de Twitter Abroacatr

Wilbert Baan (Volkskrant) about de Picnic Aggregator (interface)

Yme Bosma (Hyves) about VPRO’s Picnic Aggregator and onderdelen als Flickr, Tumblr and Splashcast.

Erwin Blom (VPRO) about Gabcast: gabcast.com

Nicolette Nol (VPRO) about iMovie.

Eef Grob (VPRO) about YouTube.

Maarten Terpstra about Operator11: operator11.com