This Article Will Self-Destruct In 8 Minutes

By NoCamels Team July 09, 2011 Comments

A new Israeli startup called 8minut.es is trying to take the democratization of news one step further. The online service allows users to post stories, pictures and videos of news or personal events they were able to capture with their mobile phones. But it is only those events that are worthy enough of user comments that will stay on the site. The posted stories receive rankings and comments from other users and it’s that activity that determines whether the story will stay or disappear. Every story starts with a lifetime of 8 minutes.

Any user can upload a story, whether they are a professional journalist, a passer-by at an major event,  or just someone who happens to capture an interesting item on their mobile phones.

Yaron Eizenstein, 8minut.es‘ CEO and co-founder, explains that the idea was originally designed for an online game: “We thought we’d create a social game that allows people to post a story. If others like it, it will live on. If it doesn’t get public approval, it will disappear,” he told the website Newsgeek.

“We decided each story would have an 8-minute lifetime, unless it receives enough comments from other users. Eight comments of any kind prolong the story’s life by 8 minutes, and so on. After it’s outlives its relevance, the story just disappears from the screen.”

Technology News - 8minut.es

Image of Will and Kate posted by a user

Behind the scenes, the team developed different tests to determine which stories are relevant to various people. “The mechanism we developed analyzes social behavior around the stories, and sums it up to a single parameter which says which story is more relevant. If, for example, I publish a story and I’m the only one to comment on it, and another story gets 8 comments from different people, that means 8 people found the second story more interesting, which makes it more relevant,” Eizenstein explains.

At the moment, most of the items on 8minut.es are pictures posted by users with very brief descriptions. For example, one user on Saturday uploaded a picture of William and Kate at a tech talk in California. The picture immediately got several comments, giving it over 100 minutes on the site’s top spot. As 8minut.es grows in popularity, its founders expect the site to receive many videos as well.

Categories on 8minut.es include sports, news, entertainment, tech and travel. The stories can be linked out and posted on Twitter on Facebook or Facebook connect.

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