Part of my morning routine has always been spent doing personal, professional reading. It was a rare day that I didn’t stop and pick up the morning edition of a newspaper. If I was working on a project, that might not happen but I was busy reading and researching via magazines or manuals.
Recently, my morning routine has involved flipping through online news services. If you’re a reader of this blog, I’ve mentioned many of the ways that I do this. Without a doubt, though, the number one service that I use is Zite. It’s available on many platforms and I have a copy on all that I own. Most often though, it’s the iPad version that I use. There are a few categories that I took from the default installation but I’ve added my own over time. Things like Ubuntu, Microsoft, Education, Elearning, Ontario, Canada, my Google Reader feed my reading addiction.
The power of Zite is not necessarily in the neat way that it presents the content and you flip through it with your fingers but in the way that it finds material to read. Unlike a regular RSS reader, Zite goes out and grabs content from places that I would never frequent or, heck, even know about. It gets smarter the more that you use it and giving thumbs-up to a story ensures that there will be more like it in the future!
For the longest time, I would read the story, perhaps tuck it away in my Diigo account, and then move on. I remember having a conversation with a friend once and made reference to a fact that I’d read in a story using Zite. I still distinctly remember the comment "How did you know that?". It was followed up with "Could you send me a link to the original?"
It was then that I really started getting serious about social reading. I’m hesitant to use the social reading on Facebook as it means giving yet another application access to my account. With Zite, it’s different. You share the link and they use whatever browser they have open to do the reading. I’m not making any particular application necessary to follow along and that’s important to me.
Professional reading has always been a great way to help yourself and others grow. I can recall the number of book study groups or article revisions that I’ve been part of over the years. Zite extends that significantly. It started with just a few friends and me but has now grown. It really became apparent last evening.
It started innocently enough. Someone from the United Kingdom who followed me retweeted a story that I had posted earlier in the day. It happens all the time. It’s just how it works.
What happened next illustrated to me the power of doing all this. This person had a number of people that followed him and they retweeted the story themselves. Next thing that I know, I’m drawn into an online discussion with these people. They provided some great insights and I want to make sure that I’m able to learn from them in the future. So, what do you do in the days of Twitter? You check out their profiles for "goodness" and then follow them.
Consequently, I’m going to be smarter and better off for the process. It can all be attributed to sharing stories and learning from each other. Can there be no greater endorsement for getting online and learning with the best?
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5 thoughts on “Zite As A Conversation Starter”
Completely agree, I have this as one of my discovery tools and find that it consistently identifies sources that I would never go to yet it is somewhat unnervingly accurate in predicting what I might find interesting. Hopefully they will update the app so that “new” content is flagged in some way. This would mean that each section shows what has been updated since you last opened the app. (I’ve put this in as a request to the developer, let’s see what, if anything, happens.)