(I'm entitled to my opinion, aren't I?)
In any event, let's get started with some comments and questions on what this new and "improved" Newsvine is all about. I think we all need to understand that Newsvine is a business entity and thus at least one important motive behind the change was the hope that it might somehow improving the revenue stream. This leads me to a couple of points regarding what kind of influence google had in the process of redesigning the site.
As many "old-timers" know, classic Newsvine had a direct relationship with its contributors in that it collected all ad revenues generated and disbursed those revenues according to some obscure formula. This is no longer the case and in an attempt to replace that system each individual contributor has been invited to open up a GoogleAdSense Account directly with Google. I have yet to do so, but in reading various comments it would seem that one should not assume that acceptance by Google is a foregone conclusion. Aside from the technical problems that may, or may not, be fixed in the future I do have some thoughts on Google's involvement in the process in the first place.
My problem with AdSense are as follows:
1. It seems that there are some contributors who have been rejected as "controversial", for lack of a better word, based on some of the content which they have published. I would therefore have to ask if that means that no Google Ads will be placed on the column in question, regardless of compensation, or lack thereof, to the particular column's owner. I would have to assume that no ad should be placed on such a column based on the fact that the stated reason for rejecting the owner is that Google does not wish for its' clients to be associated with said "controversial" content. I will be interested to see if any ads appear on any relevant columns.
2. In conjunction with the comment above, it would seem to me that the new layout reflects a huge Google imprint. Where else have you heard about targeting specific ads to specific internet users? The problem, in my opinion, with Newsvine's acquiescence to the needs of Google, is that it has essentially decided that the best chance of success lies in letting the tail wag the dog. I might suggest that prior to this new format, as widely discussed in various comments, the best thing about Newsvine was how it brought so many people of differing views together and thus provided an opportunity for its' individual members to be exposed to a variety of perspectives. This means that I have the same complaint with the new Newsvine that I have always had with Google. Essentially, not only do I not wish to be tracked with all my data being correlated and consolidated in one place for personal and privacy reasons, but I also do not wish to have my information censored based on some mathematical formula. Although it may be beneficial to Google's AdSense program to target Newsvine members by nation, the very fact that those nations are projected to be filled with like-minded people, otherwise it wouldn't be good for Google, will inevitably negatively impact the general Newsvine experience.
3. I'm not completely sure, but it also seems that in order to be an advertiser you also have to agree to be a consumer. For many this may not be a problem, but there are instances where I may choose to block cookies and/or other information when I visit a particular site. I don't want to provide incorrect information, but it is my understanding that this option may no longer be available should you sign up for an AdSense account.
Ok Socrates01, I understand you have some problems with AdSense, but I really don't care about the income so what's your beef regarding the new and improved Newsvine site?
I'm going to first acknowledge that anytime something new comes along there is an adjustment period for many of us and yet later we may wonder how we ever got along without this or that new feature. That being said, my first problem is that I will now be receiving targeted information and, perhaps even worse, so will everybody else. In my view, this will have the tendency to further divide Newsvine members according to their particular views and interests while making it much much more difficult for many to get views, particularly dissenting ones, for their articles. The negative consequences of this lies in the possibility that those with differing political views will become even more isolated from the views of "the other side". Although many, including the aforementioned Google, might suggest that filtering out information in which I am unlikely to have an interest is something I should be acknowledging as a benefit the fact of the matter is that I just don't quite see it that way.
I understand that not everyone has the same kind of eclectic interests, but that seems to me to be another point favoring my side of the argument. In other words, I may not even know that I am interested in a particular subject if I am shielded from having any exposure to articles addressing those particular subjects. The explosion of channels available on television are a case in point. While it is true that access to the various channels has resulted in niche channels and the opportunity for each channel to target a specific audience, the downside is that the wider audience has become much more fragmented and thus more isolated. The quaintness of only having three major channels may seem to some as something from the dark ages, but few can argue that when the audience was limited to just those three channels they provided a sense of commonality and community. This may sound like a neanderthal view, but I am simply suggesting that the change in format by Newsvine will have similar results. This is unfortunate, in my view, in that Newsvine was a place where liberals and conservatives did sometimes end up conversing.
This leads me to the claim by many that they will soon be leaving Newsvine. I can only suggest that finding a replacement will not be as easy as one might think. As one who has begun posting much more content on his personal site, while at the same time cutting way down on posting and commenting on Newsvine, I believe that i am somewhat qualified to address the pro's and con's of this issue. Certainly there are a lot of benefits on concentrating on a personal blog, otherwise I wouldn't be doing it, but assuming that anyone from Newsvine reads this I would have to think that they would agree that my general attitude supports members continuing to patronize Newsvine. Some of what I have to say will definitely depend on how well Newsvine continues to serve it's veteran membership while bringing at the same time bringing in new blood in the future, but let's take an optimistic view regarding the future of Newsvine.
The difference between personal blogs, to include the larger websites founded by Newsvine members, is that the benefits of scale are simply not there. In the first place, very few members of your same political persuasion will follow you to your new venue as neither you nor they want to be a part of an echo chamber. On the other hand, for several reasons, those who disagree with you are even less likely to follow you to your new venue, thus resulting in the very echo chamber you are attempting to escape. Again, this is not an attempt to sway the reader into making a decision one way or the other, but the fact remains that the sheer scale of Newsvine works to its' advantage, hopefully even when taking it's new format into consideration. Let me put it to you this way, the smaller the venue the less likely that those who oppose you will feel comfortable following you simply to disagree. This may not take so-called "trolls" into account, but the anonymity which is a part of being a member of a larger site such as Newsvine allows for a wider variety of dissenting comments by even those members who don't consider themselves to be a troll under any definition or circumstance. My personal blog has registered almost 4000 hits, which is considered reasonably good in some quarters, but the fact remains that I understand why most people choose to continue to spend the majority of their time on such sites as the one which we are discussing. The truth is that the number and quality of comments is often just as important in pulling traffic as is the original article. This would suggest, as previously stated, that the advantage for providing an enjoyable experience goes to sites such as Newsvine.
The situation is a bit different for those nations/columns whose primary purpose is to share one's interest in a particular topic or interest, for example, photography. Of course, in that case, why move at all, as you already have a wonderful ready made venue where you are not really looking for people with opposing views and are, in fact, much more likely to welcome different perspectives as to how to improve your skill. The point is that those kinds of nations are primarily formed for the purpose of improving one's skill and soliciting input on how each individual member might improve his/her technique. This would be a nation which might benefit immensely from the constant flow of new visitors and new members. Frankly, from the standpoint of Google and Newsvine, this might well be the ideal type of nation.
This went on a bit long so let me conclude by addressing the complaint about user friendliness made by quite a few of the older members. Although I am not a fan, and time will tell how well people such as me adjust, the point is not how well the older members adjust, but how user friendly the site is to new members. As new members come to the site they will have no institutional knowledge and the Newsvine experience will be, to them, what it is as we now experience it. The true value and success of the new format will thus be determined by how well it addresses the needs of the newest members, how easy the find it to navigate the site, and how enjoyable they find the "Newsvine Experience".
Thanks....posted to Trainwreck Nation among others.....