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How does a social tool that crowdsources local news and local gossip like the Zipper encourage the accuracy of information provided since everyone has access to upload local news reports and invariably, there will be false or misleading information?  Great question and it's a complete 360 from the old way of insuring accuracy with traditional news outlets.  Let's take a look at accuracy and how the more angles we have on a given story, the better the probability that's it correct.  The tools we've built into the Zipper are solely aimed at encouraging and corralling this self-correcting effect.

The other day, I was on Amazon checking out a book.  It looked interesting but how could I really know.  I wasn't in the book store where I could thumb through it or check out what other's had said about it on the cover.  Amazon was so smart in creating the customer feedback section of their site as it address just this issue as other's give reviews, some helpful, other's fluff about a particular item which you can read before purchasing.  For this given book, there only 2 reviews.  That's not exactly a confidence booster.  Look, let's be honest.  One of them is probably the author and the other is probably the author's mom.  This goes to the heart of crowd vetting situations whether it's judging the purchase of a book or deciding how much trust to put into a local news update on a social tool like the Zipper.  Sheer volume of response (hopefully corroborating) a given story adds validity and there's some breaking point in terms of number or response after which, we can be pretty certain that a given local news or local gossip story is likely to be accurate.  I ended up not buying the book and as simplistic as my decision may be, a few more reviews (in the positive) on Amazon's feedback section probably would have ended in a purchase.  Let's turn our focus to local news now as it operates in vary much the same way but instead of a purchase, hearts and minds are won as a result of trust in a story.

Traditional news outlets have a very different process of "Vetting" a news story.  In fact, to some extent, this is the business they are in outside of pedestrian desire to sell advertising.  They are the arbiters of what's true and accurate.  It's works fairly well in that we can be pretty confident that a local news story in the paper or in the news is accurate.  There's downside to this process of "managing" news and filtering stories that approach certitude.  We lose a lot of other stories for which the local news paper or television station simply does not have the resources to eye-ball witness or vet the information.  There are only so many employees and hours in the day at a local newspaper.  At some point, decisions have to be made a newspaper can't print stories for which it doesn't have a very high level of faith in the accuracy.  So gain accuracy but lose breadth.  We're going the other way.

With the Zipper, any post is a potential local news or local gossip story.  So we start with EVERYTHING, which is both good and bad.  Every story is news to someone so that's the positive.  There will be inaccurate information however, either accidentally or with malice intent.  That's where all the over observers/news posters come into play.  If one of them discounts the information, readers will inherently doubt the information.  If multiple people discount the accuracy, the story will perform poorly via the Thumbs, or Zipper system people can use to either confirm or deny a given story.  If the Thumbs consistently point "down", the story will be blasted into oblivion (as should be).  This mechanism replaces the narrow filter of the local newspaper editor and spreads this responsibility among the masses.  So we start with all possible local news and local gossip stories and the readers get to decide what's relevant and more importantly, what's accurate.  It turns the old model on it's head and personally, we're excited about this new upside down world where the reader has the power to decide what is local news.  

  

 

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