Harnessing the power of social media to enrich the presentation of news is a critical challenge for journalists and publishers, but doing this in a meaningful way has proven difficult. Focusing on the emerging social media platform Twitter, So you Say is an important step towards uniting the “old school” values of news organizations with the “new school” needs of today’s audiences.
So You Say allows news readers looking at a particular news story to see what people anywhere in the world are saying about the topic of that story right now. It significantly enhances the news reading experience by allowing readers to understand the reactions of other people, to hear their opinions, and to learn about what they think about the issues they are reading about. So You Say provides an immediacy and intimacy to the news by presenting the most relevant immediate reactions of ordinary people all over the world.
So You Say as a tool that permits news organizations to integrate relevant tweets into their sites by simply posting the So You Say widget on web pages containing stories for which they wish to offer this additional depths and context. The output format of the widget and its placement on the resulting web page are entirely under the control of the publisher. The system also allows a user to sign in to Twitter and post from the current story, thus making it easier for an online reader to engage in discussion on the topic. Any post tweeted from the So you Say page also includes a tiny URL of that story, thus enabling the story to reach a more broad audience.
But So You Say is not a comment system: The tweets posted next to a story by So You Say do not necessarily come from people who are actually on the news site. In fact they can come from anywhere.
The system works by analyzing news stories of interest to a publisher to uncover named entities and important words and phrases. These are then used to formulate queries to the Twitter API. The resulting tweets are then filtered for interest and to eliminate those which are extremely similar.
By offering readers of online news sites the ability to instantly view their peers’ thoughts on a topic, the impact of news stories travels beyond the boundaries of any one publication or geographical region. So You Say lets you see what people are saying about a story right now.