“Political Streams” • Social News, Social Truth [question mark here]

Microsoft’s Political Streams

By way of Data Minings, Matthew Hurst, I’ve been playing around with Microsoft’s Political Streams.  It’s there first application built upon the Social Streams platform (of which I could not find very much explanation).  As I understand it, from the description page and playing around with the tool, Political Streams tracks various news stories, and social media, such as blogs, and lists the ones that are most currently “popular.”  By popular, I assume the most read.  There is an indicator as to whether the pieces is rising or dropping in popularity.

The tool also extracts the names of people and places that appear in the news (and blogs), indicating whether they are on the rise or falling in popularity.  The interface is fairly straight forward, unless I’m missing something, and in concept, I’m pretty impressed with the delivery and the potential.  Through this popularity-based news service, I learned of evidence that Barack Obama is a terrorist, and about McCain’s Nazi-cocaine connections. I walk away, informed.

OK, I watched about 15 minutes of the vice presidential debates, mostly for entertainment value — and have to say that I was not entirely unimpressed with Palin — a surprise.  I won’t say any more than that.  I also, being in a hotel room with no Netflix tucked in my computer bag, watched the last presidential debate, and turned away pretty disgusted.

I believe that both McCain and Obama are honorable men — both of whom are better than we deserve.  We are demanding reasons to hate one candidate or the other, to see him as the opponent of our world view — which has largely come out of a buffet style information experience.  Some of us like meat.  Some of us like vegetables.  But when we were growing up, our parents (hopefully) made us eat our spinach.  Probably not the best analogy.  My wife’s a vegetarian.

So am I blasting the social information environment?  Nope!  It is not going away and it has huge value today and great potential for the future.  What concerns me deeply is that we, as a whole, may not be ready for it.  Will we mature as a result of an immersion in the environment.  I hope so.  Are our schools helping the rising generation to make better use of it?  Not yet, but we’re starting to.  Literacy 2.0…

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.