Ask any active user of the social web how they find out about topical events and they’ll likely answer the same way.
They don’t. The important news finds them.
Today’s breathing web is a huge melting pot of information, and social media is the cup which delivers the goodness when tasty content bubbles to the top. Putting the right ingredients in the soup involves following the right brands and influencial people within a topical area to get information faster than anyone else.
Often that’s not easy. In many cases you have to do some research on the “who’s who” within an industry or topic to determine who you keep an eye on. My own personal strategy for this revolves around either watching who is getting retweeted with information that I find relevant; or watching the people who are active bloggers and consistently delivering information faster than everyone else.
If you are a fan of the way social media enhances content consumption – you’ll love Trap.it. Crawling over 100,000 websites with this figure growing all the time, the site uses Natural language processing algorithms to work out the focus of articles on these sites, and subsequently delivers personalised information according to user tastes. There is no concept of crowdsourcing within the Trap.it community for discovery of content- every source site is manually vetted by humans, which has helped to give a certain level of quality to the index and avoid the inevitable spam trap.
As you consume that content within the services, it continues to learn what you like and dislike and further enhances the experience and information suggested to you based on user behaviour and machine intelligence. With it being increasingly difficult to keep up with the latest topcial trends across multiple sites, Trap.it offers an alternative to services such as Google alerts. Considering it uses the same technology found in Apple’s Siri, it attempts to actually read content which provides a smarter more curated approach to content delivery and enables better recommendations. Configurable email alerts also allow you to receive content automatically, provided you spend some time teaching the system – but I’m confident once you give it a shot at your chosen topics of interest, you won’t have any trouble coming back to provide more data.
The interface is a visual one, with a grid view of stories available after you’ve done some searches and added topics to your “traps”. Content itself is framed and presented inside Trap.it, which might not sit terribly comfortably with publishers – but that said I understand why. The beauty of the solution is that all of the interface elements are always at your fingertips, which allows you to rate content regardless of whether you’ve wandered off course around the web or not. It kind of reminds me in someways of StumbleUpon in that regard.
Well worth a look for anyone who cares about the quality of content which reaches them daily. Now in public beta, available worldwide.