BreakingSFNews.com, BreakingLANews.com and BreakingNYCNews.com broadcast what is happening in each city in real time through a survey of local Twitter feeds and contributions from Twitterers who add tweets to the scrolling news feed using a specific #hashtag system.
The Advent of the Breaking News websites
We’re just beginning to see the development of “breaking news” sites that chronicle and monitor the Tweets and other conversations on a topical or geographical level. MuckRack, apparently launched yesterday, aggregates the Twitter feeds of prominent mainstream media journalists.
Genesis of Breaking News on a Hyperlocal Level
My company, Domus Consulting Group adopted the mission to provide regular folks who happen to be hubs of their community a way to gather their community into compelling online applications like BreakingSFNews. We were early advocates of Twitter and clearly understood how the micro-blogging (aka micro-networking) platforms can tie communities together in a big virtual neighborhood. We also recognized that Twitter’s unique function to facilitate citizen breaking news was compelling (just listen to the buzz today).
The Transparent Development Process
We don’t develop applications in stealth. We develop in iteration by explaining in this blog our concepts, create prototypes as necessary, listen to feedback, and improve the product or service. The chronology for develop BreakingSFNews is literally detailed from this blog’s timeline:
12/10/2008: “Breaking News” is a Mass Media Play
The Give it Away Business Model
We developed the breaking news template that BreakingSFNews is built upon with the intent of giving it away free. We’ve discussed that sharing website development with the people is a new model for spurring adoption of a new marketing paradigm; Ning for DIY social network creation fits into this paradigm. We believe empowering individuals by providing them with plug and play web applications will become more common because it “shares the wealth” and will somewhat disrupt the old VC-based method of stealth website development (why try to build a “monopoly” web property when it can be replicated and given away free in the future?)
A lot of our consulting work so far has been in real estate and in media/advertising, industries that rely on hyperlocal networking for business. We’ve developed hyperlocal Breaking News sites so companies and individuals can tie their communities together with very little financial risk. We even develop the business model behind Breaking News (in progress) so it minimizes business risk as well. And we’ll fully disclose and share all new business models for the benefit of those who adopt Breaking News sites.
Why We Believe Hyperlocal Breaking News is Compelling – it’s in Local Advertising
We discussed this one week ago. Simply put, there is now a void in where local merchants can advertise. They are pulling out of print publications, Yellow Pages and Penny Savers, and can’t figure out how to reach their customer base online. With hyperlocal breaking news sites, local merchants can address their community using Twitter to publish their “daily deals”. Yesterday’s NY Times provided anecdotes on how effective this kind of “advertising” can be. As friend Roberta Murphy put it, “in a Breaking News site, the local merchants aren’t pushing obnoxious ads any more, they are sharing their deals and inviting conversation”. And guess what? It’s free!
(Caveat: Of course, local merchants will need to understand the protocols of social media so they don’t spam and generally act uncouth…)
Everybody is looking for a deal these days; the hope is Breaking News sites will connect local merchants with consumers on the watch for deals.
How You Can Participate
As discussed, the Breaking News template is free to use for anybody interested in building a Breaking News site for their city, i.e. OCBreakingNews.com, SantaBarbaraBreakingNews.com, etc. It literally took me only three hours to set up each of the Breaking News sites, and we teach how to do this.
Join us for a free webinar next Wednesday, April 22 at 10:30pdt/1:30edt and we’ll explain the methodology to get a Breaking News city site up and running. Register here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/526096234.