Zite is your Pandora for curated online reading

My coffee steamed next to me and my iPad this morning as I shrugged off my pre-dawn treadmill sweat.  Ironically, the self-help article, “How to Turn an Obstacle into an Asset,” was the first read I landed on. It was next to, “The Death Star is a Surprisingly Cost-Effective Weapons System” (Referring to Darth Vader’s man-made-planet-annihilation station), just before “How New York Pay Phones Became Guerrilla Libraries:” an odd collection of morning reading, to be sure.

I didn’t go searching for these articles as varied as a Madison Avenue magazine stand. They found me.

Zite personalized magazine is my new favorite app. It used to be Pandora, and probably still is once I’m over my infatuation with this new tool that curates my reading. Zite makes it easy to research, read, vote, bookmark and share. You tell Zite what you like, and it sends you more articles in your areas of interest. But like a hardbitten librarian, the app will also send you articles in opposition to your likes, just to help keep your mind open to the other side of the story.

I don’t have to forage for information any longer. Zite is my personalized curator, and the more I personalize, the better it curates.

As great as this fairly new app is, I’m surprised at how few people in the creative community know about it. So after my excitement over this morning’s reading, including “Ira Glass on the Secret of Success in Creative Work, Animated in Kinetic Typography,”  I decided to hammer out this quick post to alert you to Zite.

It is music to my eyes.


8 Comments On This Topic
  1. Pat posted
    February 24, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I’m not convinced this is a good thing, Park.

    I have some local friends who admittedly rely only on the NYT, Huffington Post and NPR to keep them current with news of the world. This isn’t good. They are miserably pessimistic people to interact with and their world views are painfully biased. They need to realize there is another side to just about every story.

    I wonder with push media like Zite if people won’t ever learn about the cool things Washington State University does, because they only accept information about the UW? Will people never consider vacationing in the Wind River Range, visit the Smithsonian Museums or hike the Appalachian Trail because all they are exposed to are pushed articles on vacation cruises or theme parks?

    I know, the above examples are a little extreme, but the idea remains.

  2. Park posted
    February 24, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Pat, do you think that pushed, curated media limits a readers worldview, or does it help cut through the clutter to open the landscape of articles with many more relevant selections, given that they push you a percentage of articles that go agains’t your “likes”?

  3. Margie Albert posted
    February 24, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I have not allowed myself to become dependent upon these apps for just that reason. I still enjoy the “freedom” of search, reading newsletters I subscribe to and deleting subs if I find them unfulfilling. Maybe I just haven’t taken adequate time to set these apps up correctly and maybe it is just hard for me to get in the habit of using them – not sure. But I do have a “fear” some will set up artificial walls by allowing the app to filter information they may have found useful.

  4. Pat posted
    February 24, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Park – you’re in the business of pushing an agenda or a client’s product. I understand that, and I understand how something like Zite would sound like another good tool for your business.

    I’m giving you a consumer’s perspective and telling you I don’t think I want a program deciding what articles or advertisements should be put in front of me.

    I think it’s good for people to be exposed to all sorts of articles, advertisements, points of view, opportunities, etc., and let them use their brains to sift the crap. If nothing else, its good mental exercise.

  5. Bruno Sarda posted
    February 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Park, thanks for sharing. Am with you on this. Letting something like Zite help me find content that will suit my taste and interests sounds great. Just like Pandora does not limit the amount of music I listen to by choice but rather helps me discover artists and songs in the genres I enjoy, I believe this can supplement – not replace – my free will :-)

  6. Park posted
    February 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Actually, my post was not about using these push strategies for marketing, rather about freeing my time personally. I already do a lot of pragmatic reading sifting through the AZ Republic, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, not to mention a ton of online and offline magazines. This requires me to cull through the crap to find the good stuff. I use the curating service to deliver me more useful content in a fraction of the time. I agree that if you rely solely on a curated source, then you run the risk of being tooled. The point I tried to make in my post is that in our overwhelming world of every-growing content, curation is one of the wonderful ways to find the nuggets.

  7. Coleman Foley posted
    February 27, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Zite is a great way to follow the news. It has largely replaced Flipboard for me on the iPad (it’s not available on PCs or Macs). Unfortunately, Zite only allows following predefined topics.

    Trapit, a similar product, allows you to follow any topic and is available on desktops and laptops (it doesn’t work very well on an iPad). Trapit also searches more sources, so it can find more information. It also continually delivers articles, while Zite only updates daily. So you can find a lot more content on Trapit.

    Like Zite, Trapit is free.

  8. Park posted
    February 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Thanks, Coleman, for letting us know about Trapit. I’ll have to go take a look.

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