The NewsiT Blog

Bringing people together around interests and circumstances they share with people they trust. Create, collaborate and connect on the NewsiT mobile platform.

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  1. NewsiT launches Verifeed!

    Live from the Campus of DC’s 1776, an early look at NewsiT’s Verifeed platform for making sense of the torrent of terabytes we call social data.

    For the past two weeks we’ve been blessed to work alongside some of the most talented tech entrepreneurs in the country, all brought together in the heart of the nation’s capital by a simple message: the founding of the United States was an entrepreneurial act. As Penny Lee puts it on our campus wall, “1776 is Revolution 2.0 – disruptive, innovative, inclusive. Formed by and for the people.”

    So as the Verifeed teem has toiled on improving the user experience of our enterprise Dashboard, wrestled with complex logic around our verification algorithms, and stood up the initial iteration of this new website, we have been inspired every hour of every day by the innovators and ‘can-do’ thought leaders that surround us here at 1776. 

    We have been blown away by the generosity of all the hyper-busy entrepreneurs, who have freely their time, advice and expertise – and by the connections we have already made. How often do you get a tap on the shoulder inviting you to meet Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth or entrepreneur, investor and Washington Kastles impresario Mark Ein? Or the chance to beta test your product or share battle scars with such talented entrepreneurs? 

    Thanks 1776! 

    So what is Verifeed?

    We’ve spent a good deal of time with our team, our advisers, our customers, our investors and our friends trying to nail down the best way to articulate the value of what we do. 

    Step One: Try to ban all jargon words – and easier said than done. After all just about every social media platform has some sort of “engagement” piece to what they do, but sometimes the same word can mean vastly different things to different people. Our new site is still a work in progress and we hope an improvement in our articulation of the value we bring to our customers.

    We think social data is only as good as your ability to make good use of it. So if you think about those 400 million Tweets each day – and beyond that billions of conversations across all social channels – what posts are valuable to you? And why?

    Verifeed wants to help you and your business find the ‘what’ and ‘who’ that matters most to you in real time. You decide what’s relevant, and we provide the platform that helps you convert ‘noise’ into a clear signal of what’s actionable and who you can trust in the babble.

    So we’d like to invite you to come test our assumptions! Start a trial for your site, business or brand. Help us test the use cases that will be most valuable to you. It’s easy, low risk – and we think you’ll be pleased with the value we’ll help you unlock.

    On a more idealistic note, our democracy so audaciously launched in 1776 is only as good as the information we have at our fingertips to make informed decisions.

    Follow us @verifeednews, @veriate, @verifeedtech and @newsitnews

  2. More than ‘social glue’: Trust in an era of ‘infobesity’

    So, we all have it. Infobesity

    In our hyper-connected, data-driven world, its hard for individuals and enterprises alike to find real time information and sources we can trust - amid the noise, repetition, irrelevance and rumor often masquerading as fact. 

    At NewsiT, we created this nutrition label for social media and big data. High sugar, high fat. When it comes to information, we’re sugared up and diabetic - with scurvy. Starved for our vitamins. 

    Much like diabetes, infobesity is an expensive disease. It is hitting the bottom lines of brands, publishers, financial institutions, nonprofits - in high costs and lost revenues. And it’s a disease we’re busy fighting at NewsiT.

    At NewsiT we think trust is the social glue, the currency of big data - and that’s why we sponsored a meet up at SXSW to connect people who care about how to design, architect, and inspire trusted content and connection. 

    It was a great group, with thoughtful insights and epiphanies - and a shared conclusion that trust was about authenticity and relevance.

    Joining me was TrustRadius CEO and Founder Vinay Bhagat and social media/communities expert Fred McClimans. Fred brought with him some slides to deconstruct on the role of trust in designing for ‘social glue’ and Vinay talked about how his peer review platform helps enterprises make better choices about what software to license or buy.

    Bottom line, who and what you trust online depends in large measure on the eye of the beholder - as well as the context in which we view it. You may be the optimistic sort that trusts until events suggest an alternate course, or you may require others to earn your trust. But whatever the case, the more transparent and authentic the source, we all agreed, the more trusted the content.

    Context was important too: See Fred’s slides for how a spoof in the Onion about “rural American whites” trusting Iran’s President more than President Obama becomes believable when published on an Iranian website. And for more on that, check this out this article about why the media keep falling for hoaxes. 

    Help us keep the conversation going - and let us know what makes you trust content and sources alike, and why. 

    And, a self-interested plug here, if you want help deciding who or what to trust on Twitter, give NewsiT a shout. We filter tweets in real time for relevance, authenticity and probabilities of veracity - and provide our partners with a clear signal of what’s reliable and actionable and identify the most credible sources and word-of-mouth ambassadors. 

    We think communities are more effective, valuable and viral - when built on authenticity, transparency and trust. Help us change the daily nutritional values on that ‘infobesity’ label!


  3. Why trust is the new social glue…the currency of big data

    If you’re at SXSW this year, drop by this cool meetup on what makes people trust other people in social communities - and how we decide what content to trust. 

    NewsiT’s Melinda Wittstock is joined by CEO of Trust Radius Vinay Bhagat and social communities guru Fred McClimans to brainstorm the role trust plays in making communities ‘sticky’.

    Join us at the Driskill Hotel Ballroom on Monday March 11 at 12:30-1:30 More info here. 

    For user experience mavens, engineers, social media innovators and anyone who cares about trusted connection, this Meet Up is the opportunity to network, debate and collaborate with those who want to think ‘outside the box’ about how to take social networking, social media - and even B2B enterprise software decision-making to a new level. 

    So come along, and tell your friends!

  4. NewsiT chosen as one of NAB Show’s Top 10 Start-ups

    Exciting news for NewsiT today: It is one of ten “game-changing, market-ready start-ups” to be chosen to present to major media and entertainment giants at the NAB Show in Las Vegas April 6-11.


    "This is a great opportunity to put our innovative platform in front of so many influential enablers, thought-leaders and decision-makers in media alongside so many other great start-ups," said NewsiT CEO Melinda Wittstock. "Our team has been hard at work building a mobile and social platform to help our partners cut through the ‘social noise’ with a clear signal of accurate and actionable information. We can’t wait to show it off."

    NAB recruited the 10 chosen companies for what it described as  their “innovative mobile, video, analytics and social technologies, and their high potential to have a considerable impact on the media and entertainment industry and offer a window into the future of content creation, management and delivery.”


    Part of the new SPROCKIT program, NewsiT will have broad exposure to present insights and innovations to what is the largest electronic media conference in the world - addressing the entire conference, meeting with C-level executives and press. “Through SPROCKIT we’re gearing start-ups for glory by spotlighting them on the industry’s biggest stage,” says Harry M Glazer, founder and CEO of World Series of Start-ups, and the creator, director and co-producter of SPROCKIT. “Products and services from SPROCKIT companies are not just concepts, but industry-changing innovations that are positioned to disrupt the way we operate in this industry.


    NewsiT helps media, publishers and anyone in need of accurate, contextual content and trusted social connection. The platform crowd-sources user-generated content and verifies it in real-time for relevance and reliability with powerful algorithms, rating and reputation scoring processes. “Our platform helps our partners engage, aggregate and monetize influential users and viral communities,” says NewsiT’s Wittstock. 


  5. U.N. Observers Surprised at American Voting

    As Pam (below) and others are tweeting, reporter from Foreign Policy has gotten reaction from UN observers, who come from 60 countries.

    Pam @pealynn

    Gotta give the UN folks monitoring our election props….even they are shocked we don’t all have to show ID to vote #SMH

    They’re surprised US voters often do not need to present photo IDs, perhaps more so that ballots are sent down to local officials and extras are not burned or destroyed some other way at the end of the day.

    Seems to come down to “trust,” in general Americans trust their system, but folks in many other countries don’t have confidence in theirs.

    FP story:

  6. "A New Jim Crow": Leadership Council on Civil Rights

    Voting watchdogs in swing states nationwide are reporting thousands of calls from voters having difficulties exercising their constitutional right to vote today. “We are seeing a manifestation of a new Jim Crow in America,” says Wade Henderson, head of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, “and I don’t think that’s an overstatement”.

    People are encountering long lines, being turned away from the polls because their lacked photo ID, or experiencing difficulties with malfunctioning machines or inadequate staff, says the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. It is asking voters to call 1 866 OUR VOTE to record any problems, and they say they have already received “thousands” of calls.

    Barbara Arnwine of the Lawyers’ Committee says some voters are being turned away by poll workers who mistakenly believe that all voters need government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot, while state laws say this is necessary only for first-time voters.

    "The state of Pennsylvania ought to be ashamed," Arnwine said. Pennsylvania passed a voter ID law, but the court blocked it from being enforced this election - and later ordered Republican activists outside polling places in Allegheny to stop demanding ID from voters.

    Other trouble spots include Florida and Ohio, where voting machines in Dayton, Toledo and Cleveland are non-functional. Some Ohio voters are also complaining of regular ballots being placed in provisional ballot boxes, where they are less likely to be counted.

    Voting in New Jersey, slammed last week by Hurricane Sandy, is a “catastrophe”, says Arnwine.

  7. Problems Persist As Election Day Nears End

    Heavy voter turnout, confusion over Voter ID requirements and malfunctioning voting machines were among the issues being faced in key swing states across the country as Election Day wrapped up Tuesday.

    In Pennsylvania, where an earlier video of malfunctioning voter machines went viral, several other reports surfaced, including this one on VideotheVote.

    In Ohio, VideotheVote captured footage of voters who appeared to be properly registered and have proper identification still being required to cast provisional ballots.

    And in Northern Virginia’s hotly contested Prince William County, considered one of the bellwether localities in this election, voters in a heavily minority precinct were forced to wait up to five hours to cast their ballots, according to  

    What issues did you face at the polls today? Download the NewsiT app and share your experiences. 

  8. Long Lines in South Carolina; Voter Asked for ID

    A judge ruled last month that South Carolina’s Voter ID law could not be enforced in Tuesday’s election, but at least one voter (@phoriginals) tweeted that she was asked to provide an ID. 

    Regardless of the ID requirement, lines were apparently long throughout the state.  Karen L. Mallia (@JerseyAdBabe) tweeted that she waited in line four hours and 40 minutes to vote.

    Derrall Stalvey (@Derrall) said his mother-in-law was in line for more than five hours in Columbia.

    What was your experience? Download the NewsiT app and help report the story. 

  9. Confusion over Voter ID Reigns in New Hampshire

    New Hampshire is one of the country’s smallest states, with only four electoral votes. But it’s also a swing state, so every vote counts. And it’s not alone in confusion about voter ID laws.

    New Hampshire voter Amy Barnes (@moeizme) tweeted, “All the literature says: You don’t need a photo ID to vote in NH. I go to the poll & they say: show me a photo ID? Whaaaaa? .”

    Actually, as it turns out, New Hampshire does have a new law requiring a photo ID. But if voters don’t have one, they can fill out an affidavit at the polls and still be allowed to vote, as the Secretary of State’s website explains.

    What confusion have you seen at the polls on Tuesday? Download the NewsiT app and report on your experiences.

  10. Even NASCAR Driver Weighs In On Voter ID

    NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth’s Twitter feed (@MattKenseth) is usually filled with updates about the latest Sprint Cup race.  But on Tuesday, Kenseth tweeted about something quite different:  ”I can’t get over the fact that you don’t need an ID to vote. Seems fairly important????”

    What do you think? Download the NewsiT app and upload your thoughts about your voting experience today - or report any problems.