Full confession – I am a big fan of Zite, a news curation platform that not too long ago was sold to its competitor Flipboard.
It was just a few years ago that the idea of a mobile device news curation service was revolutionary. The idea that I could access a flow of content from many different sources on any topic that I wanted beat the hell out of only being able to access what one content provider could generate.
How could this go wrong? Well, it is going wrong. As time has gone by, other big players in the mobile game have realized that they can stream news content as well. And while Flipboard is not going out of business, it is no longer the darling of the mobile content provider world.
There is a broader issue here. As a daily user of Zite (essentially the same thing as Flipboard) I see it. The problem is that while I can ask for articles on a given topic – let’s say London or Paris or cooking – that ask does not generate precisely what I am looking for at that moment. Instead, it generates a lot of crap with a few interesting things. In other words, the curation does not “level up”. And because it does not level up, it can be copied.
The question — and it is a question that no one really has figured out yet — is how to do that leveling up. How do you empower content users to get precisely the content they need in order to learn.