I spend a considerably amount of time reading other blogs, articles and generally trying to keep on top of discussions and best practice around using social media for non-profits and for humanitarian response. Here are the tools that I use to streamline my daily information consumption:
Flipboard (iOS and Android)
I was quite sceptical when I first installed Flipboard, but have since then come to love it. Once you have connected the app to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, it does a really decent job of showing you what the people you are connected with are discussing and sharing. And unlike with your normal Twitter or Facebook feed, there seems to be some algorithm at work that moves popular items to the front. I also really like the interface, which is a pleasure to use on the iPad.
You can retweet, reply, comment and share directly from within the app which is neat.
In addition to your own accounts you can also subscribe to a (small) number of channels such as “News” or “Tech & Science” and get exposed to content that might not already be present in your social networks.
The main thing I’m missing, is integration with something like Bufferapp so that interesting articles I find while eating breakfast in Berlin, could be scheduled for later, when most of my readers are online.
Zite (iOS and Android)
While Flipboard is great at showing you the best content from your existing social connections, Zite provides you content from all over the web that it thinks might be relevant to you. Where Flipboard sorts your content, Zite helps you discover new things.
When you first install the application, Zite reads your Twitter feed to find out what kind of topics you are interested in. Where Flipboard has only a very narrow range of content channels, Zite’s list of topics is much more extensive. You can also add topics manually.
I addition, Zite has a “Top Stories” feed which includes the most important stories from your channels. This is a great feature when you are having a busy week. You can give a thumbs up or thumbs down to any story which supposedly improves the relevance of your channels. I’m not using this feature a lot but that might be because I’m generally quite happy with the Zite’s selection.
Just like with Flipboard, I’m missing integration with Bufferapp or another scheduling service for posts I want to share later.
Feedly (iOS,Chrome, Android and Firefox app)
I use Feedly to read the RSS feeds that I have subscribed to via Google Reader. One of the main advantages of the Feedly interface is, that you can share content directly to Twitter, Facebook or save it for later. You can also give individual items a thumbs up, which Feedly supposedly uses to prioritize content on the dashboard. However, I have never found that it makes a big difference.
Paper.li creates a one page “newspaper” out of your Twitter feed and any #hashtags you might be interested in. In my opinion, the service has become a bit dated. It has originally been launched by the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2010 and I have the feeling that the university doesn’t have the resources to develop it further. At the moment it is the last of the services I check on a daily basis, by which time most of the content I see on Paper.li has already popped up somewhere else. What I really like about Paper.li is that it’ll send you daily email with top-stories and that you can subscribe to the Paper.li’s of other users. Here is my Paper.li.
GetPocket (iOS, Android, Web, Kindle)
GetPocket – formerly “Read it later” – is integrated with Zite, Feedly and Flipboard and also available as a Browser-plugin. I’m not very good at bookmarking things and GetPocket stores items that I find interesting in a central location where I can access them from all my devices. GetPocket still has a beta-feel to it and things tagging don’t work as well as they should, but the fact that it is integrated with all the other tools and Chrome make it useful.
Do you have tools or services that you use to keep track of what is going on in your sector or area of expertise? Please share them in the comments section below.