By "citizen journalism", we refer to the emerging practice of members of the public who play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. This trend is gaining particular importance thanks to the diffusion of social networks, blogs and internet enabled mobile devices with photo and video capabilities. An example of a breaking news blog page showing contents from common people is shown in the following figure. However, we are still far from considering people interacting on social networks or blogs with their smart phones as a new media because of lack of coordination and verification of provided contents and contributions to the news/events story telling. Large scale choreographies are of major relevance in this domain where run-time integration of services provided by different users is needed and where it is necessary to raise trust and reputation among the various stakeholders. For instance, in the Citizen Journalism scenario described below, a lot of different kinds of actors are involved and some of them can be represented by millions of users around all over the world.
Figure 3: Example of breaking news blog page
A number of users are equipped with smart phones (i.e., programmable devices with broadband connectivity, GPS, photo and video cameras, bar code reader etc.) and are distributed geographically across Europe. During their everyday life, they interact in a Web 2.0 way as part of a social community. In particular, using their smart phones they can share information about weather conditions, public transportation, events, accidents etc. that may happen in a particular location in a certain moment. They can enrich this information with audio, photo and/or video contents or they are able to describe an event or situation by speaking in their own native language.
A user, through his mobile, accesses the community portal and reports that an extraordinary event is happening nearby. Another user finds it interesting and decides to start a media coverage of the event to be included in his/her blog. A predefined choreography starts executing:
The actors involved in the choreography are depicted in Figure 4. All these activities are performed continuously and simultaneously as long as the event lasts. The resulting process is a complex mix of automatic and human activities. Furthermore, the high dynamism of the scenario and the wide range of possible events/news to cover lead to the need of dynamically re-synthesizing parts of the choreography and of dynamically substituting services with others.
Figure 4: Actors
Many brands aim to create and maintain communities of faithful customers as well as participative workforce. They try to involve both employees and end-users in the development of the brand itself. E.g., a consumer electronics and software company could directly involve end-users to investigate their needs and requirements as per a new innovative product line. In the same way, a telecommunication company could involve mobile phone users in order to elaborate new ideas about added-value services to be provided through their mobile network. Depending on the dimension of the user base, the currently available means for aggregating people and fostering long-lasting discussions (e.g., traditional social networks) could prove insufficient. New advanced tools are required to support the coordination of large-scale discussions or brainstormings. Large scale choreographies could play a key role to tackle this issue where several levels of behind-the-scenes coordination tasks must be performed to filter information provided by different groups of users, properly dispatch it to other groups, aggregate different information sources etc.
The XYZ Company decided to invest in a new generation innovative hi-tech gadget. In order to orientate the design and realization phase, the company decides to involve different communities in the early phases of the decision-making process by means of collaborative brainstorming sessions. Three different kinds of communities are involved: end-users, internal developers and retailers. A very first idea is to set up a dedicated blog, but it is clear that this solution may lead to several issues:
Based on these considerations, the company decides to adopt an advanced choreography based collaboration tool enabling the coordination of large-scale brainstormings. Such tool is able to support discussions among groups of users by means of online tools such as shared whiteboards, outliner, videochats. Each group has a profile, and one or more declared "goals". Moreover, each group can provide the "results" of their discussion in terms of documents, images, links etc. that can be tagged and classified by the group itself or in an automated way. The collaboration tool acquires such outputs and, basing on the information provided by the group (e.g., tags) or extracted (e.g., lexical analysis of the content of the documents) is able to dispatch them to other groups that are discussing. This way, such material becomes an input and a new subject of discussion for other groups. The results are continuously circulated and therefore foster the overall discussion. This process may last days or weeks.
The mechanisms for circulating "ideas" among the discussing groups and acquiring results can be monitored and customized on the fly by the moderators. Moreover, external source of information (e.g., technical specialized blogs) can be linked in order to provide other inputs to the groups.