Considering this latest announcement is an evolution of things we have been working on all year, this is probably a lot less exciting to us than for people hearing it for the first time. But it is genuinely exciting because it delivers on a promise as old as the internet itself, the ability to integrate text on-the-fly from many sources.
NewsGator is building widgets for a consortium of 32 online papers — one for each team in the NFL. While the newspapers are not necessarily owned by the same companies, they’ve decided to share high quality content with one another in a novel way. Essentially, we’re talking about the atomization of content — where, esentially, content is broken up into many pieces and distributed (often standalone) across the web; in this case, the online newspapers we’re parterning with are atomizing their content through NewsGator widgets. (For an excellent introduction to atomization of content, check out PR Squared’s post on the subject.)
Why is this the anti-AP? Simply because the AP takes it upon themselves to create or aggregate content which is then distributed to their coop members, it defines syndication. What we are doing is enabling a peer-to-peer based model rather than the hub-and-spoke where our network participants are getting what they are sharing, in this case news content concerning football (American football, not soccer for those of you outside of the U.S.).
Our theory is that there is plenty of content, high quality content, from local sources and the limiting factor has been the ability to programmatically aggregate all this local content and then provide a distribution mechanism. Widgets and RSS solve both of those problems and point to a future where content owners and publishers can seamlessly share and consume the best content on specific or generalized subjects and do so with little cost and zero friction.