We express our identities through our collections. Online these collections take the form of Amazon wishlists, Last fm playlists and lists of friends on Facebook. Perhaps less consciously we have search histories, purchase profiles and a trail of cookies picked up from website visits.
In David Siegel’s book Pull he posits a future where our personal details are consolidated in a private space in the web:
Your personal data locker will store your personal ontology. It helps you find television shows and movies, it helps you learn about wines you might enjoy, it helps you find bargins online, plan a trip, find events you might want to attend, or spot a new restaurant, and it can help with dating life if you’re single. Hook it in to your everyday activities and you’ll build an ontology with millions of triples, all of which make your data locker into a ’smart’ virtual assistant that continues to learn as you go through the day.
Few news organisations have attempted to bridged this gap between the news story and our personal profiles. The New York Times perhaps being the exception taking a users LinkedIn account, looking at your area of work and then serving contextual stories and ads related to your area of work.
In some respects SEO (and the optimising of keywords in story titles) could be considered a crude attempt by news organisations at mapping stories to the profiles (keyword search patterns) of their intended audience. We have recently seen a move away from SEO effort in the news industry in favour of building more meaningful relationships with loyal customers.
I suspect with time we will see a focus of effort on mapping the model of the news domain to the domain of the user (personal data locker). Relating the context of the story to the things of importance in our world; the topics, events, work, people and hobbies.