Shawn Blanc on News.me

Shawn Blanc discussing the trends evident in News.me (a new iPad app):

I think it’s obvious that this is the direction things are going with news — as readers we want to know what our friends are interested in and what they are reading.

Shawn goes on to talk about the second trend of supporting the sites we read. Both are good points, but it’s not an accurate description of News.me, nor is it an accurate description of Flipboard. Shawn later states two things he likes most about News.me, the first is:

Our desire to curate our own news feeds via our social networks.

That’s the crux of the problem with Flipboard and News.me for, well, me. My Twitter feed is anything BUT a curation of anything I want to read. What links people post on Twitter aren’t always read by me and are certainly not liked by me universally — same with every other Twitter user, we tend to follow more people than we actually care to follow. That’s where these apps fail for me every time.

Shawn’s right, I do want to see what my friends are reading — more importantly I want to see what they are reading AND liking. That’s why linked lists are important to me and that’s why Instapaper’s ‘Like’ sharing is so damned sweet. When I look through what my friends on Instapaper are liking I know two things to be true:

  1. They read the article.
  2. They liked the article.

That’s what I really want to know, and that’s precisely what News.me and Flipboard always fails to tell me. These apps tell me what my friends see — not what they recommend. I see a lot of news articles everyday (537 RSS feeds daily at last count), nobody wants to see all the crap that I see — yet that’s the implication of these algorithms.

Originally posted for members on: April 21, 2011
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