Read Later

In the first few weeks of the year Summify, the Twitter and RSS daily link digest service was acquired by Twitter themselves. In hindsight this is no surprise, it’s one of many incredibly useful applications that has adapted the social service. I struggled for a while with exactly how I wanted to use Twitter, I was keen to keep the follow count low so I could easily enjoy the content, a lot of the accounts I follow share interesting, topical, funny and relevant links.

My following count went from under 100 to just over 300 in the last few months. I started to just dip my toes in for five minutes here and there. Would click on a few bits and bobs and either indulge in cat or dog lols, read some current news or send an article to ‘Read Later’. Instapaper’s ‘Read later’ service is great for having a space to go back to and enjoy reading when your ready. I hate to say it and it’s pretty sad, but, the change from ‘reading it all’ to just ‘dipping in now and then’ left me feeling like I was going to miss that juicy link that I had previously noticed and saved. Daniel Howells recommend I use Summify a few months ago and after a few days of using Summify it started to change my perspective on how I could use Twitter. My new approach was to follow as many related and relevant accounts that interested me and let Summify drop me that daily email telling me what went on, how many people were sharing and a brief summary of the the content itself. One of my daily routines is to open the links, hit ‘Read Later’ to send them to Instapaper and enjoy them on my Kindle or read them on my phone when I have some time to kill.

When Summify announced the acquisition they also announced the closure of the service. It will no longer exist in a couple of weeks. Well it’s nearly a sure bet that the newly introduced ‘Discover’ tab that arrived in Twitter has something to do with this. It makes perfect sense. Creating a digest of what you missed helps give Twitter its very own ‘Read Later’. A page where you can see what was noisy in the last week or day.[1. The discover tab will probably have a fair few things jammed into it, sponsored stories seems to be the obvious choice for the time being]

I’m really interested in the value of using algorithms to curate content. I used Shaun Inman’s RSS reader Fever for a while. I use Google Reader’s ‘Sort by Magic’ now and then. I use Summify. All of these tools have allowed me to follow more content creators (for want of a better word) because they do a good job of condensing what I should read first.

I feel the really exciting bit is going to be watching the algorithms get better and seeing more content providers using these services to their advantage. What I would really like to see is video content getting a bit smarter with this distillation technique.

Prediction: You will have a Twitter TV/Video channel in the future, it will be a smart distilled playlist of the must see television from the last week, movie releases and internet lols, all driven by your social connections. Yes it will have adverts. The same adverts you have always known on normal TV, instead this time they will be targeted much better than a skippable Youtube deodorant advert stuck to front of Charlie bit my finger. All the big players in television have watch later services and more of them are hosting shows up services like Youtube. Televisions now have built in apps and internet and retro fitting units like Boxee to those that don’t is easy. In fact, it’s already happening, in many different forms. Just remember – it was only in 2008 that the iPlayer launched.