Finding Relevance

There’s so much information out there, it’s often hard to filter out all the noise and find relevance.  As I sat around the breakfast table this morning talking to some friends, I rattled off a few tools and apps that I use, which help me find articles that is personalised to my taste.  

Here’s my top 5, but I’d love to learn what you use, so please share your favourites as well!


1. Zite

Have you found yourself reading the newspaper recently and wondering who on earth they are trying to target with their content?  You might like to try Zite.  Zite is a personalised newspaper which finds relevant content from all over the web, and serves it up to you in a dynamic application on your phone or tablet.  I logged in using my twitter account and it automatically served up interest categories like Social Media, Web Design, Technology, Melbourne, and Wine which I could customise even further.  Available in Apple’s app store as well as on my HP Touchpad, it’s fair to say there is not a single wasted article.

Use it to:  Stay up to date with the late news and trends or for design or blogging inspiration.


2. Google Alerts

There’s a running joke in some large companies  that you hear announcements faster externally via Google Alerts than you do via internal channels.  Type in a search query into Google Alerts, let it know what sort of content you want, and from what source like blogs, discussion forums, video’s, or news, and how often you want the summary sent to you, and you’ll be served up with a neat summary of top content based on that search query.

Use it to: Get daily email alerts with the top content based on a search query.


3. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of my favourite applications for managing my various social profiles.  Available on mobile, tablet as well as via a browser on your laptop or computer, Hootsuite allows you to:

– Post content to various profiles in one hit
– Search through your various social profiles without having to open up multiple applications
– Create lists and search terms to find conversations that are relevant to you
– Schedule posts / updates for hours, days or months in advance

Hootsuite is a great time saver, with many other advanced features, but it’s well worth including in your daily social usage.

Use it to: Manage your social profiles.


4. RSS

RSS – Real simple syndication is a probably for the more technical user.  When trying to explain what it is, I often tell people that websites are like radio stations, and emit a frequency which others can tune into.  In this instance the radio signal being emitted from a website is called RSS, and if you want to tune into that websites RSS, you use an RSS reader.  Programs like Outlook have an RSS reader built in, alternatively you can use other programs like Feedburner which turns an RSS signal into an email update.  So if you have a favourite website you can have their latest content delivered to you as and when it happens.

Use it to: Get website updates as they happen


5. Facebook and Twitter

When writing this post I nearly left Facebook and Twitter off the list, but it still remains a highly relevant source of news for me (and I’m not just talking about hearing how friends got drunk last night).  You just need to find the right people to follow or pages to like, that serve the content that suits you.   For instance my Facebook news feed is dominated by updates from websites like Mashable.

Use it to: Surely I don’t need to explain this one : )

Last but not least of course chat to your friends and find out what they use.