[Originally written for the CIPR Friday Roundup.]
This week has been Social Media Week with events taking place in over twenty cities around the world. No-one can hope to take it all in, but I've done my best to keep abreast of the themes, big and small.
But there was one thing I was keenly looking out for yet did not see. If you did, please let me know. Machined media – or at least that's my term for it.
I define machined media as content that's automatically discovered, presented and published by machines for humans, and I introduced it at last year's CIPR Social Media conference.
Machined media has had a fairly ignominious start in life. Anyone online will have stumbled across it. You will have seen some weird looking text in spam emails, and spam websites just looking for any and all traffic they can entice a search engine to send their way. The text has been generated automatically to try to by-pass spam filters, and then to encourage you to click so the spammers make money. The content hasn't had to aspire to Shakespearean fluency because one click in a million will do just fine thank you very much.
But semi-machined media has entered prime time, and pure machined media is on the cusp.
I used 'semi-machined' to describe an article that's partially written by machine and requires a human to finish it off. It's not uncommon in sports coverage for example. The computer system can establish which teams are playing, who makes it onto the pitch, who is substituted, who scores and when, simply by following the online commentary and associated digital outputs. These snippets can then be pre-filled for the journalist to join the dots and add some emotional context.
Pure machined media gives the software complete autonomy.
It's all powered by semantic technologies and the BBC is possibly the best exponent of all media organisations today. Some of the BBC articles (or "content" more blandly) you'll read about the Olympics this summer will make it into the world sans midwife.
So what's that got to do with social media you ask?
Well, this is social media, just with some machines joining in the socialising. It's not the first entrant of machines into the realm; think about how you find out what's trending? A machine had to step in to wring that out for you. And then many of you will have used services like Zemanta too.
Enter 'machined media relations'. If media relations has involved you ensuring journalists and other (human) commenters have access to your story and perspective on things, then machined media relations entails you ensuring that information is published and readily available to the machines. Ready for that?
Best regards, Philip.
The Human:Machine input to this article is 100:0.
The human who is not a spokesperson for the CIPR.