I dont understand why i still use an RSS reader to get my industry news. More to the point, i dont understand why i dont feel comfortable that one of the automagic, social-signal-using, content aggregator thingies will show me everything i need to read.
I’ve tried them all - from flipboard, to wavii, to the latest darling prismatic. OneRiot even took a vertical-focused hack at this with RiotFeeds - so it’s obviously something i’ve been thinking about / wanting for a while.
The proposition for all these things is broadly the same: “there’s too much content on the web. We’ll surface the stuff that your social and/or interest graph thinks is “important”, and that should give you what you need.”
Said another way, they deliver all the news that’s fit to share. But i dont trust them to show me everything i need to know. Which is really annoying.
In the old days, you’d buy The New York Times - all the news that’s fit to print. It didn’t show you every story on the planet… but you trusted the editors to show you the important stuff that you should read.
Then came Google. You’d search for a topic… and it didn’t show you every web page that had ever been published on that topic. Instead it showed the “important” stuff as the top result… and 99 times out of 100, that result was great. We trusted Google.
But i really dont trust the social readers yet. I always feel like i’m missing news, and go back to check the trusty RSS reader again.
Maybe it’s because the algorithms are not up to scratch yet? They are not quite Google-level in delivering the right thing all the time. (thought: is it simply that we are at the Altavista stage of the social readers? Maybe we just need to wait for the Pagerank of readers to emerge, the algo that makes everything before it seem like amateur hour)
Or maybe it’s because i seek out very specific information on tech news? Biz Dev is my my DNA, and i like to “read between the stories”, to spot the nascent trends that others might not have seen yet, which could open an opportunity for my company before anyone else knows what’s going on. In order to do that, i can’t rely on reading what everyone else already knows. The social readers are great at telling me the latest iPhone 5 rumors, but not a lot else. I never use a flipboard or a prismatic and come away satisfied. It’s like skimming The Sun when i know to be effective I should be reading The Economist cover to cover.
But i never finish The Economist. And i frequently let my RSS reader overflow. So i still need a solution here.
Maybe it’s a cross between Google and Social. What if i could feed a Google Alert for a topic though a social resonance filter? Google would find me everything, and the social filter would determine which of those things are being read/shared by others right now - which would be an indicator of quality or importance. (It’s interesting that Google is now pulling in social signals via Google+ to deliver exactly that effect on Search. Maybe if Google News used the same approach - a combo of exhaustive crawling and ranking algos, passed through a social filter - it would be what i need.)
One thing is for sure. There’s a lot of innovation in this space - so someone will crack it soon enough. Until then… back to my RSS reader!