News Curation

News curation

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The coming of social networks has brought a tidal wave of information we have never experienced as a species. In that sense, every day is a new milestone. Along with that growing information overload, comes the need to slow the unrelenting firehose of data. The obvious way to deal with it is to limit ourselves as to what we read on a daily basis, but without the discipline to trim the feeds and possibly miss out on a tidbit of news, no one will do it on their own. The whole reason the Internet has exploded the way it has is due to the addictive nature of information. We want to know more than everyone else, but we also dont want to be a know-it-all. Hence the rise of news curation.

We do it in a primitive form on a daily basis when we talk at the water cooler or retweet/reply. Only the things that move us enough to comment are what we’re really interested on, but we scour the news, read newspapers, scour social nets and browse sites in search of something that piques our interest. Between nightly news (if it bleeds, it leads) and the inane celebrity gossip rags, we come across a lot of data that isn’t worth repeating, either because it was a waste of our time to see it, or it’s a waste of time to someone who would t be interested. Either way, there is a lot of wasted time.

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Citation services such as Summify, Strawberryj.am, Feedly, and Genieo are hoping to trim that down so that you can get back to reading only what really motivated you. Even Google is throwing their hat into the ring with Propeller to fight Flipboard. Each has their own method for summarizing what you want to see. Genieo has an app that watches my browsing habits but doesn’t touch Google Reader. Summify has an app, it only looks at my social networks, but not things I may be browsing for. Feedly has an app and a web page but only looks at Google Reader and ignores the rest of your social networks. And until they find a way to hook these into Safari or another mobile browser, they won’t be 100% complete.

My ideal news curation service:
will be available as an app and a web page with a small application available on Linux, Windows, or Mac,
will consist of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Reader feeds,
will have Instapaper integration to store links for safe keeping until you are ready to read the latest juicy tidbit about new software about to be released or the rash on your friend’s cat.

That covers all my streams and allows for oddball cases where something does not have a presence on one of the mainstream social networks. Summify comes closest to that for me, but I back it up with Genieo’s constant updating along with some sweet StrawberryJ.am to make it complete.

Lastly, if you’re someone who commutes in a car and don’t relish the idea of having a roadside memorial in your honor for texting while piloting a ton of metal, there is an app called Voice Brief that links to many of these social nets and reads them off to you, including latest email.

Do you follow a news curation service, and if so, what do you use?

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