Home | Blog | Keeping Up | What is “The Real-Time Web?”

What is “The Real-Time Web?”

When Michael Jackson died on June 25, millions of people flooded onto Google News to find the latest information about what had happened. The spike in traffic was so massive that Google suspected a malware attack and began blocking anyone searching for “Michael Jackson.”  —Clive Thompson on How the Real-Time Web Is Leaving Google Behind

The world, seemingly, moves faster every day.  I can’t verify that the world is moving faster, but anecdotes like that, above, certainly show that people want news that moves faster.  More and more, the first stop for people to find out about what’s happening is the Internet.   People won’t wait for the “old” Internet any more; that typically means links that show up as relevant in Google.  Google cannot possibly index everything on the Web as it’s happening in real time.   People who want to know what’s happening as it’s happening know to look at trending topics on Twitter, or what their friends are linking to on Facebook.

Some new tools have popped up to help people interface more effectively with the real-time web.  Some of these include Tweetmeme, and OneRiot.  Both take very different approaches, but typically are pulling from the same data (Twitter).  Tweetmeme shows what’s hot on Twitter at any given moment, and is more of a browsing experience.  OneRiot provides an almost Google-like search bar for searching the real-time web.

What does this mean to me, Laura?

  • Constant real-time news will likely create a culture where we are more conscious at a moment-to-moment level of what’s going on in the world (and our collective reactions to it).
  • Users will increasingly be more engaged with information as it is available, especially with the exploding use of smartphones and mobile browsing.
  • “Real-time information delivery will likely become ubiquitous, a requirement for almost any website or service.”  (source)
  • It’s time to think about what it means to your library when the information it puts out online is only being updated infrequently.  Where is your library’s place in the evolving real-time web?

There is 1 comment

  1. >What’s your library’s place in the evolving real-time web?

    I think that as information professionals, we need to reflect on encouraging the public to think in terms of what is authoritative and relevant information. We can do this by staying abreast of the news that is Hot & then by increasing access to authoritative print & online materials that are relevant to what is going on. Maybe we should be interfacing with them in social networking applications to help them as they are making those decisions for themselves.

    In today’s world, everyone is the press and the public — both for the good and for the bad. Now we can have Herstory instead of just History. Groups which may not have had the same coverage in the traditional press now can get their say. However, that makes these online accounts more like oral histories — and oral histories are only as truthful as people tell that truth to themselves.

    We as a society will eventually have to redefine — What is the truth? How do we determine what is the truth? WHO gets to determine what is the truth.

    Our profession will have to ask itself — With so many voices out there, how can we provide the proper amount of materials so that people can decide the truth for themselves? Who really is an authority, and who are we to say that?

    But we need quality assurance of sorts to make sure that the people who are speaking the loudest are telling the truth — especially when everyone starts going by it.

    I know it’s a very philosophical discussion. But the philosophy drives policy and policy determines tangible action.

Comments are closed.