Category Archives: Curation

HuffPost "Highlights" a new way to view articles.

A new quote highlight page has got me to actually read The Huffington Post.

Sensational titles and  a chaotic website design have kept me from ever making the Huffington Post part of my digital routine. But a new site from the Huffington Post has changed that and may provide a view into the future of online publishing.

HuffLabs, a “innovation division” of the Huffington Post, has launched a new page called HuffPost Highlights. The page has a masonry look (think Pinterest) that spotlights quotes or portions of text that Huffington Post readers have either copied in their brower or have selected using Huffington Post’s highlight tool.

HuffPost "Highlights" a new way to read The Huffington Post

A number of online services have tried to popularize collecting or highlighting of interesting articles or quotes by subject ( is the one I use most frequently), but this experiment by the Huffington Post is the best put together I have seen with the caveat that is it from one publisher.

Jeopardy style news reading.

In a way similar to Jeopardy, where you are given you the question before the answer, Highlight gives you the most popular part of the article (essentially a quote) before you ever see the title. I an not sure this style of discovery is for everyone, but I enjoy it.

It also surfaces what readers think is compelling, versus what one editor decides should be the title to catch the reader’s eye.

I find myself reading the quote, which often has enough context on its own to understand it, and then if I find it compelling enough, I will look at the article title and then sometimes click through and read the article.

Why is Huffington Post doing this

The advantage to the publisher is pointed out by Conor White-Sullivan, director of HuffPost Labs. He told Poynter that:

We wanted to find and expose the buried ledes, the interesting quotes, paragraphs, or snippets of data in articles, and create a new way for users to browse the content on a news site, and discover articles that may have not been featured, but that they may find interesting…

Breaking the personalized news bubble

Like many of us, I live in a personal news vacuum. I get the majority of my industry specific news from Zite, my Twitter follows are highly curated based on my interests and my Facebook feed also is based on my existing relationship and what I like.

The Huffington Post has a certain political and news perspective, but it is broader than the one I have created with personalized social networks and news services. So while I am still getting a selective perspective when using Highlight, it is broader than what I am used to, and does provide a more well rounded view of news.

A new way to view and display content

I can certainly see developers use this technology on other sites, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see this type of news feed become a common alternative both for aggregated news across multiple sites as well as a different user interface for many online publications.

I would be interested to hear what you think of Highlights. Feel free to post a comment.



RebelMouse may have figured out how to turn your social content into a useable blog.

With so many of us sharing links and pictures on social media, many companies have tried to figure out how to turn those shares into a usable, useful blog. The problem has always been that companies who attempted to do this (thinking of Twylah) have never seemed to figure out a way to let individuals customize the content in a meaningful way.

RebelMouse seems to accomplish this with a Pinterest like look, the ability to customize the position of effortless social shares AND the ability to manually add blog posts and pictures.

Here is my quick six minute video review that will walk you through the key features.


Since I post the video a couple hours ago, I learned that RebelMouse is going to start adding customized subpages that will be linked to in the top navigation. Having a way to sort content into categories is a needed step and could make RebelMouse a real player in the “digital home” and/or blog space.

RebelMouse is in beta, but you can sign-up with your Facebook or Twitter account to be added to their list. It took four days for me to get an invitation after connecting my Twitter account. You can see my RebelMouse page as an example here.



Zite gets my highest recommendation.

How you can get personalized and human curated news.

Personalized news options have come a long way in the past year. Below you will find my favorites services as well as some of the best human curators of tech and digital news.

Personalized News


Zite gets my highest recommendation.

If you take one thing away from this piece, I hope it is that you give Zite a try. In the past year I have tweeted several times that I considered purchasing an iPad just to use this amazing app. In the end I didn’t have to do that because Zite is now offered on Android, and my wife is nice enough to share the use of her iPad a couple times a week.

Zite lets you choose different catagories of news you are interested in, and you can also connect your social networks to let stories from your network have an influence what you see.

From there you get articles that Zite thinks you might be interested in. Nothing new with that, but Zite uses amazing learning technology to figure out what you are most interested in and then delivers those stories to you via their app. You can simply like or dislike an article, and Zite will take it into account. You can block all articles from a particular domain. You can also indicate that you like a certain author or topic.

What I like best about Zite is that it never feels like  work. If I find a article that is extremely compelling, I will like it. But I can go for weeks without doing anything but reading, and I still get compelling articles.

iOS / Android


I consider Prismatic a more advanced version of Topsy with filters. While I don’t thing their learning mechanism is as good as Zite, this service does a good job of surfacing interesting topics based on the keywords and topcis you select. The service is web based. Here is a two minute video that explains how to get started with Primsmatic.

This service is currently in beta. When you signup for an invite it usually takes one to three days before you are sent and invitation.

Human Curated

This section is largely focused on tech, social media and digital news. While machine based personalized news can cover any topic, humans often have to focus on a specific area.



Techmeme is THE site in the tech news world. Around since 2008, this is were much of the tech world goes for updates. Techmeme does a good job of curating the news using human curation, but sometimes I feel like they are too insular, just focusing on the established tech publications.



All Things D: Must Reads

All Things D: Must Reads

My new favorite page. All Things D is a leader in the coverage of the the digital space, and rather than just link to their own work, now they have a section called Must Reads. The page is very basic; Beth Callaghan, an All Thing D editor, just links to what she considers are the six best reads around the Internet with a focus on the digital world. I now tend to go this page first when I am on my desktop and want to find something interesting to read. I am a bit biased because they featured my Search Secret piece and that is actually how I realized they were offering this new section.

Web page

PBS MediaShift: Daily Must Reads

PBS Media Shift: Must Reads

At around 11AM each weekday, PBS Media Shift sends out an  email with links to “the best stories across the web on media and technology”.  This email includes five to seven links. Unless I am very busy, I look at this email each day. Lily Leung does a good job of highlighting useful and interesting reads.

 You can sign-up for this newsletter on the right hand side of this linked page. 




Note that the call to action is to visit Twitter.

Twitter finally using Summify software, and it looks great.

I am a big fan of Summify. I first wrote about Summify last year when I talked about it being a great option to get an overview of what the people shared while I was on vacation and not on Twitter. Since then I continue to look at the summary email every night. Summify does a good job of finding some of the more interesting and notable links shared each day.

On January 19th, Twitter bought Summify. I was concerned that Twitter would shut down Summify, and in fact there was some indication from Twitter that they would do that. Despite that indication, I continue to get Summify emails each day.

Today, I finally got a chance to see what Twitter plans to do with Summify. The image below shows a new email summary from Twitter (on the left) that looks so close to a Summify email (on the right), that I have to think it is a use of the technology.

New Twitter summary email is useful and may bring users back.

Note that the call to action is to visit Twitter.

The new Twitter email goes beyond just a summary of popular links shared by those you follow. It also includes five tweets that were popular in the last day, but that don’t have links in them.

The new Twitter email is very clean, and I think it will solve several issues that Twitter has. First, it keeps Twitter interesting and relevent for people who don’t check the service frequently. Secone, it is likely to get people  who previously signed up for Twitter, but who don’t use it, to try it again.

I looked at the notification pages for a few Twitter accounts I use, and I didn’t see a check box to sign-up for a summary email. It could be that Twitter will use previous opt-in permission to send this email, but the email is so useful I have to think that they will allow users to specifically signup for it in the future.


clipboard private alternative to pinterest

Learn how to use Clipboard from the CEO, plus instant access to the service.

Last week I spent some time talking to Gary Flake, the CEO and founder of Clipboard.

Clipboard is a free service that lets you clip and organize anything you find on the web. I have used it for a couple months, and it is pretty useful.

If you use Pinterest, but would like an option for private boards, it is worth checking out.

Click here to access the interview, plus there is a link to get instant access to the Clipboard service.