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Bloggers’ Credibility: A Challenge for SYNC3

30 July 2009 | PROJECT NEWS


The mission of SYNC3, an EU-funded project, is to map the blogosphere. In June and July 2009, SYNC3 held focus groups to clarify exactly what users will need. These groups were held in Maastricht, London, and Moscow respectively hosted by EJC, Google and RIA Novosti, three of the project partners.

One crucial point came up time and again: “How to check the credibility of unknown bloggers?” 

Credibility check 

The broad mix of journalists, bloggers and communicators agreed that SYNC3 will be a useful tool for making sense of the blogosphere. But there were different views on how to judge the influence and credibility of bloggers. 

Today’s bloggers do much more than share opinions on hobbies and political interests. Many are paid by groups worldwide to promote and build a positive image. So in some cases, their “opinions” are little more than public relations. Participants agreed that SYNC3 should identify bloggers and rate their credibility; and this could be achieved via a rating system based on readers’ feedback. 

Testing the water 

Another focus group said that SYNC3 will be a great tool for testing the “social temperature” on a range of news items. Journalists can use SYNC3 to predict what will be “hot topics” and concentrate their efforts accordingly. Meanwhile, communication professionals, including members of the ‘International Association of Business Communicators’, said this would help their work and planning for how to share stories with bloggers. The next focus groups will be held in Brussels and Prague in late August. 

Note to editors: SYNC3 was launched in March 2009. Co-funded by the European Union, it aims to track the posts and views of bloggers and citizen journalists in the context of traditional media news. The SYNC3 consortium includes EJC, RIA Novosti, Google, Xerox, Athens Technology Centre and other partners, and is seeking feedback from as many potential users as possible. A questionnaire has been prepared on how SYNC3 can help people who follow blogs in their everyday work. The questionnaire and example scenario are on the project website Latest news is available also through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn updates.


SYNC3: News-Centric Semantic Blog Analysis
The EJC led the research and development of SYNC3, an innovative blog search and curation platform. The blog search engine, which also functioned as a content analysis tool, aspired to facilitate journalistic research, but also catered to media curators, bloggers, and public relation professionals.