Ever since the 2016 US Presidential Election, and, more recently, as Facebook came under scrutiny for the Cambridge Analytica disaster, the term "fake news" has run rampant. This phrase has challenged the way journalists do their jobs, and the way audiences perceive their work.
Many entrepreneurs and companies have used this as an opportunity to begin questioning how the media landscape can be improved. For example, Elon Musk recently Tweeted about an idea he has been thinking about for a while now, which is a sort of Yelp for journalists. Clearly, the pain point he, and other entrepreneurs looking to disrupt the broken media space, are thinking about is how to make qualities like author bias and credibility sit at the forefront of readers minds--opposed to being an afterthought.
But Musk has more than enough on his plate. Between SpaceX and Tesla, solving for the Internet's content problem is low on his priority.
He's not the only one thinking hard about how to improve news--and paving the way for what questions entrepreneurs that want to be part of the shift need to be asking themselves.
Another group of entrepreneurs is working on a blockchain and AI platform called RedPen, to solve the overwhelming issue we have in today's society of "information overload" when it comes to content consumption. When a news story breaks, or you're searching online for more information on a given topic, you don't want to know what one person at one publication thinks--you want to know what the entire Internet is thinking and feeling.
As consumers, we don't have time to read twenty different articles to piece an entire narrative together. Instead, RedPen seeks to curate the most important content from "the crowd" and compile it into a more objective and comprehensive form.
For example, many small business and entrepreneurs rely on PR and news sources to gain credible traction. If their audience can't trust the sources they are getting this content from, why would they trust the product? It's imperative--not just for businesses, but content creators as well--that the entirety of their story is expressed, instead of being siloed between a handful of disjointed sources.
In order for this kind of massive transparency shift to happen, and improve the way we all use and leverage the Internet--both for personal use, but also to build businesses--here are the three big questions the RedPen team are asking themselves:
1. What is going to have the biggest social impact?
Building a successful company is great, but the world's best and brightest entrepreneurs are always asking how they can change the world.
When you think about how important content creation has become in our society, the number one driver always needs to be transparency. In order for content to empower and educate people, entrepreneurs need to be asking themselves how they can continue moving toward an Internet landscape that is fueled by integrity--as opposed to page views and popularity.
Better advertising targeting or smarter monetization models won't be the things that solve the fact that we creating far more content than we will ever consume in a lifetime. If entrepreneurs want to build a better digital world, it's worth asking what the everyday person, and the growing business, both need in order to feel heard.
2. What do people really need to know?
There is a lot of noise on the Internet.
So much so, everyone has their favorite aggregation app. We look to apps and algorithms to show us what we want to see. In theory, this is great, because we don't waste time trying to find the things we're looking for. The con, however, is that we all get trapped in our own "echo chambers" of information. We are only shown the things aggregation apps and social media platforms have determined we want to see--effectively removing other opinions or angles we might need to see.
In order to continue to improve the way we consume content on the Internet, without continuing down the rabbit hole of algorithms and "echo chambers," it's important to ask how users can get what they need faster, without diminishing their larger scope of the world.
3. How do we hold people accountable?
The answer is, "Blockchain."
By registering digital authorship identities on the blockchain, RedPen is looking to bring a new level of transparency to the media landscape. This is far more important than many people realize, and today's entrepreneurs at the forefront of innovation see this as a crucial question to ask.
From negative YouTube comments, to bad press, many times the opinions that rise to the top aren't necessarily the most credible, or even the most informed. In order to give readers a more accurate look at what's happening on a macro level, the answer isn't to tell everyone to be more objective. That's unrealistic. Instead, the most relevant voices need to be given priority--as they relate to the larger narrative. And as credibility is earned (and registered on the blockchain), hopefully, we will one day have a media landscape that more accurately reflects all sides of a given story, as opposed to the one with the best headline.