Help the movement

I’ve always been shy to call what I work on a movement, but others are doing it, so maybe it’s time to ask people to make a small contribution.

I don’t want money, not yet. I want something more valuable. Attention.

Here’s what you can do.

1. Bookmark the Tabbed Rivers page. Which ever panel most appeals to you.

2. When you want news, go there. Scroll. Skim.

3. Click on links. <== Most important thing.

4. The authors of the articles, if they have good stats software, will see the river in their referrer log. Over time, if you can develop this as part of your news habit, they’ll get curious. These are the people I want to be thinking about the rivers they might produce for their readers. So we can cover all kinds of communties and topics. By reading the news through the tabbed-river interface you’ll be helping the bootstrap of a new way to flow news, without going through a central node like Twitter or Facebook. You’ll be helping to bring back the “open” to the way we use the web.

If it works, that will get us more users, and more feedback and bug reports, and that’s how the software gets: 1. Richer. 2. Easier. 3. More debugged. Right now it’s a shortage of users that’s keeping this stuff from taking off. And there’s a lot more behind this waiting to come out and upgrade the way writing is produced and read on the web.

BTW: Today I added another tab to Tabbed River 2.0, the NY Times. The idea hit me yesterday at lunch with Jeremy Zilar, a friend who works at the Times. I was listening to him talk about what he’s working on, which is fascinating, and it hit me that there should be a tab for the Times in the rivers. Even though the Times feed is in my personal river, it’s mixed with a lot of other feeds, so it flows more quickly and you could miss a bunch of Times editorial content. With its own tab, you get approximately 12 hours of Times stories, a half-day of news, all accessible through a scrollbar.

In summary — the way you can help — the most important thing you can do — is to use the stuff. Right now that means reading the rivers and clicking the links.

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About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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