Tag Archives: curation

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. 




Klout Facebook Request via Twitter Email

Twitter leads summary email with a promotion of Facebook … until you click the link.

Twitter’s new summary email has been slowly rolled out to users. They started with inactive accounts, and last night this personalized email was sent to most users. Surprisingly many of the top stories where a promotion of Facebook.

I had access to a dozen of the new Twitter summary emails sent last night and two of them led with a promotion of Facebook.

Automated curation can certain lead to issues like this were competitors are promoting each other, and if people are sharing their Facebook pages on Twitter, maybe they should show up as the lead in a summary email. The problem is . . . they aren’t.

Many shared Klout links now redirect to Facebook.

I have written previously about how Klout is making an aggressive push to get people to connect their Facebook accounts, invite friends to their service and authorize their Facebook app. Now Klout has  started to redirect links to their own site so the automatcally go to Facebook. Frequently when you click on shared Klout link, it will take you to Facebook for another attempt to get you to connect.

This aggressive approach has been highlighted by the new Twitter summary email.  When you click on the link to go to what you believe is Facebook, you actually end up going to Klout and get this message.


The actual link code is fairly complicated, and I assume is making sure anyone clicks on a link is prompted to connect their Klout account to Facebook and/or invite others to join:


Twitter’s Problem: User Confusion

Twitter’s summary email is getting it wrong. I click to go to Facebook, but in my case I am actually forwarded to Klout. Whether you think Klout is a useful site or not, I don’t want to click links in the Twitter email thinking I am going to one website only to end up at another. Klout can certainly redirect people from their own site to other pages. It is some of the most aggressive behavior I have seen, and Twitter shouldn’t be contributing to it with their confusing promotion of Facebook… err,  I mean Klout.



What Twitter can learn from Pinterest

I am not one of those people who is always calling for the addition of new features to Twitter. I like how it is now. I like that you only get 140 characters. I like the follow/unfollow model. That said, the more I use Pinterest, the more I think about how Twitter could make small changes to improve the experience without ruining the wonder of short updates.

The life of tweets could be extended by allowing for classification and collecting.  Yes, we have hashtags, but I personally don’t find them that elegent. And if I tweet using a hashtag regularly, I still don’t have an easy way to find all the tweets I made using those hashtags.  If I am not going to find my own group of hashtagged tweets, no one else is going to bother to try to find all the tweets I made on one topic.  Twylah has attempted to do this to some degree, but they are using strictly automation. Twitter could avoid buying Twylah (I will miss you Summify), and actually make a better product in the process.

My suggestion to Twitter is give people the option to put Tweets into user created categories (like Pinterest boards).  You could even bury the option so as not to confuse new users, but at least make it an option. Bookmarking sites have shown the popularity of services like this, and with just one selection from a drop down menu, it would create a lot of value for Twitter and users by allowing Twitter to be a destination to find curated “boards” that revolve around specific subject areas.

I mentioned how I like the strict follow/unfollow system Twitter uses, but over time, a small move like this, would position them to better be able to adapt and compete with the Google Plus model of circles. Letting the users decide what to follow on Twitter, makes more sense then having the creator, create circles to share with from existing followers.  Twitter has set itself up as a fairly open networks, and Pinterest’s model of following specific interests would be a nice addition without changing the core Twitter experience.




Automated curation and why I created @Lblogs.

A couple people asked who was behind @Lblogs, so I thought I would use this post to lay out my thoughts behind why I created the account, and since I can’t keep anything short, a couple thoughts on curation.

For those who aren’t familiar with this Twitter account, Lblogs uses RSS feeds to post to Twitter the title of the blog post, a link to it and an @ reference acknowledging the author.  All the blogs included are published in Lawrence.

Example tweet from LBlogs. Click on image to check out the hilarious Sandbar blog post referenced here

Twitter as RSS reader

Lblogs came out of my experiments with posting RSS/Atom feeds to Twitter.  I have long looked for an RSS reader that would act like Twitter and show the most recent titles with links across all my RSS feeds as they are posted.  I never found software that would accomplish this. But in the process I realized I could actually do better than what I originally wanted.  I could feed all of the blogs I follow into Twitter.

I created a separate Twitter account, made it private and my main account @lawrenckslive was the only account that followed it.  I then used external software to route all the RSS feeds I follow into this new account.  In the two months I have been using this system, this RSS system has published over 7000 tweets, but I am the only person who views them.

RSS > Dlvr.it > Tweeted by Private Account > Viewable by @lawrencekslive

In the process of using this RSS system, I realized that curation can take many forms.  The best is when someone is looking at information, chooses the the highest quality and shares it.  But curation can be done on a less effective, but still useful level. That level is choosing blogs that have related or high quality content and them grouping them together on one account and publishing it.

Lblogs focuses on blog posts originating from Lawrence.

Because the Lawrence community has diverse interests, Lblogs isn’t really about what is going on in Lawrence, but rather what bloggers in Lawrence are saying.  After a couple days, the content of the feed includes a variety of subject matter.  Sometimes the post has nothing to do with Lawrence, sometimes it is focused on Lawrence, but the majority of posts naturally relate to a Lawrence audience just by the nature of where the author lives.

At this point if I wasn’t running the Lblogs account, I would still be following it because I like to see longer pieces that are being written by people in the community.  Since I am putting almost no restrictions on the type of blog accounts that are included, beyond that they must be published in Lawrence and shouldn’t be too commercial, I imagine over time that the number of tweets could be significant.  So if the number of tweets becomes too much, feel free to unfollow the account.  Having your blog included on the feed does not come with any obligations to follow the account.  Even if people just occasionally look to see what is new being published in Lawrence, I think it will be helpful. And since it is automated, the time required to keep it going is minimal.

Since the account is publishing links to other people’s material, anyone can opt out at any time by @ messaging the account or letting me know by any other method. I have purposely not included content from media companies to avoid using RSS feeds that have restrictions against doing so.  No one has yet to opt out, but understand I will not take it personally if anyone wants to do so.

If you know any blogs in Lawrence that you think should be included, feel free to add them in the comments or message me.  Also, if there is any interest, I will happily do a blog post explaining the step by step process of setting up your own personal RSS to Twitter account.  Just let me know.