Turning inner space into outer space

September 24, 2012

Spundge may be filling a need we don't really have

Spundge is a new tool for journalists that promises to make our lives easier by helping us monitor Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr all in one place. You can also throw in some RSS feeds.

So I immediately signed up and created a “notebook” for Kamloops, the location of newsonaut head office. The result is a stream of items from the above-mentioned sources that have the word “Kamloops” in them.

It is indeed handy have all these sources in one spot, but there are a couple of problems.

First, the data from Facebook, YouTube and Flickr is pretty much useless. It mainly consists of personal posts that have no news value. So that leaves us with Twitter, which brings up another problem.

The tweets brought in from Twitter are only those that have the keyword “Kamloops” in them. But of course not all newsworthy tweets about Kamloops have that word in them. It would be great if they did, but they don’t.

So now I’m left wondering why I would use Spundge when a Twitter account that follows all known Kamloops news sources does a better job. And if I want to search for tweets with the word “Kamloops” in them, Twitter can do that, too.

Of course, there is more to Spundge than a simple data stream. You can collaborate on your notebooks and share them. And for a major event, I can see this having value. Even so, I’d be surprised if adding Facebook and the others to the mix would be very helpful. Twitter pretty much has a lock on the news.

If you’d like to learn more about Spundge, Andrew Phelps has a nice overview, including quotes from corrections guru Craig Silverman, at Nieman Journalism Lab.

Be sure to try it for yourself. Just because I had a less-than-stellar first impression doesn’t mean you won’t find it useful.