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A Simple Tool For Finding Journalism Sources on Delicious

A coworker of mine, Marshal Kirpatrick, once wrote, “People new to social media are often frustrated when they are told to “join the conversation” – because they aren’t sure where to find the conversation.”

That’s doubly true for journalists. We need to mine the Web for stories and sources but where do we start? The social bookmarking site Delicious is a good example. It’s filled with millions of potentially noteworthy links, but how do you filter it to find what’s valuable? To answer that question I built a simple tool for identifying Delicious users who are really interested in the same topics I am.

Last month I spoke at a conference for university admin types. The session was about the loss of higher ed reporters, and ways that a university can become their own media organization. That doesn’t just mean disseminating information, but collecting it as well. I wanted to give people at the session a simple way to get their toes wet. So I turned to Yahoo Pipes and came up with Delicious User Finder. (You can find a primer on Delicious here.)

What it does

You enter keywords. The Pipe spits out a list of Delicious users who have tagged bookmarks with your keywords — and the number of times they used those tags.

That number is the key part of this tool. Those users with high tag counts think just like you do; they see the news through the same lens you do. And now that you’ve found them, they’re your personal information mine. You can use them to find new blogs, news sources and online services. You can use them as your own news aggregator. You can use them to discover where the conversation is.

They’re not a “source” in the traditional, real-life sense; the majority of the time who they are is irrelevant. Click on their name on the Delicious User Finder search screen. That will take you to their collection of bookmarks on Delicious. You can either bookmark that page or grab the RSS feed on the bottom of that page.

What it won’t do

Some users are goldmines, but plenty of others are crap. Also, it’s a limited pool. The search will only analyze the most recent 100 bookmarks with your tags. For some searches that may go back two years, for others, two months.

Advanced

The quote from Marshall comes from a piece he did for ReadWriteWeb called “How to Build a Social Media Cheat Sheet.” It’s a little dated, but if you’re interested in getting even deeper into finding out where the conversation is, then I highly recommend it.


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